An Oceans Abcdarium created by the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany


Sarah Daradkeh

Earth’s coastal zones are not only a hotspot of human activity—around 10% of the world’s population live in such areas, and many economies are dependent on the sea—they also provide a variety of critical ecosystem services, and are home to many rare or endangered species. Many have adapted to this specific habitat; indeed in the interface zones between sea and land, some unique strategies of survival have evolved. For a long time it was believed that amphibians cannot migrate in saline waters, due to their osmotic intolerance. However new evidence suggests that transmarine dispersal of amphibians has in fact occurred in the past. Migration supposedly happened between the two islands of Madagascar and Mayotte—islands 300km apart from one another, but both now home to two closely related species of frogs. This sculpture appears to be amphibious: two main elements represent the two realms of ocean and land. Their subtle interaction explores the fragile balance between terrestrial and marine life.

Sources: Glaw, Frank et al., “Integrative evidence confirms new endemic island frogs and transmarine dispersal of amphibians between Madagascar and Mayotte (Comoros archipelago)”, The Science of Nature, vol. 106, (2019).

Ramesh, R. et al., “Land–Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone: Past, present & future”, Anthropocene, vol. 12, (2015).