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

Coral Bleaching

Luis Borchardt

Healthy corals live in a symbiotic relationship with protozoa called zooxanthellae, which provide the corals with nutrients. But when subjected to environmental stressors such as elevated temperatures, increased acidity, or pollution, they expel the symbionts living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. This process is called coral bleaching. A coral can survive a bleaching event, but remains under great stress as a result. Global reportage of bleaching events have been increasing in frequency since the 1980s. Combined with rising sea levels (corals need shallow waters for their habitat), coral bleaching poses a significant threat to coral reefs. The video was created using code, as a generative artwork. The images were included individually in the code to create a random collage that shows the destructive transformation of a reef and highlights the amount of dead coral worldwide.****

Sources: Watson, M.E., “Coral Reefs”, Encyclopaedia of Environmental Issues, vol. 1, (2011): 317–318.