Coral reefs are one of nature’s most majestic creations.
The animals responsible, tiny organisms called coral polyps, grow a hard calcium-carbonate exoskeleton for protection. The result is the hard rock-like structure we easily recognize as coral.
Although coral reefs cover less than 0.1% of the ocean, they host more than 25% of all marine species. They are the most diverse ecosystem on planet Earth.
They are also rapidly disappearing due to global and local issues. Currently, 75% of all coral species around the world are threatened. That number is expected to grow to 90% by 2030.
Hundreds of organizations around the world are working towards a solution to this complicated problem.
One way humans have been able to help is by creating artificial coral reefs. These man-made structures act as a sturdy substrate for the corals and other organisms to attach to and grow, eventually re-creating an ecosystem and attracting fish, mammals, and reptiles.
There are thousands of artificial reefs around the world, but perhaps the most epic one is in the British Virgin Islands.
The Kodiak Queen, one of the only ships to survive the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was purposefully sunk in 2017 to become an artificial reef.
Before that, a team of investors including Sir Richard Branson paid to have the Queen transformed into a breathtaking underwater art installment, complete with an 80-foot iron kraken sculpture.
Tourists from around the globe have traveled to dive and snorkel at the site and a huge portion of the proceeds have gone to conservation and education.
A perfect example of art and science coming together to become a part of the solution.
Check out the free documentary here to learn more about the Kodiak Queen.