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A fluff piece in more ways than one! The Institute For Figuring have been developing the ‘hyperbolic crochet coral reef’, a collective of crochet coral reef organisms knitted by hundreds of people across the globe. By altering the style of crochet through differing algorithms, the crochet reef has ‘evolved‘ an impressive diversity of reef associated organisms. The crochet reef has been shown at exhibitions across the US, and carries with it a serious message:

As part of the Crochet Coral Reef project the IFF has constructed a Bleached Reef, a handicrafted invocation of what happens to coral reefs under environmental stress. Most of the forms in this reef are crocheted from varying shades of white and cream, mimicking the effect of actual coral bleaching. Corals acquire their colors from microscopic zooaxanthellae that live within the polyps – these symbiotic organisms help the polyps feed. When corals get stressed by environmental toxins, or by rising water temperatures, the polyps expel the micro-organisms, leading to the washed out look known as “bleaching.” Polyps can survive for a short time in the absence of zooaxanthellae, but not over the long term. A healthy reef ecology is a co-operative one and in the long term the corals need the microorganisms to survive. Over the past decade reefs around the world have been subject to an increasing number of major bleaching events, suggesting that rising water temperatures are taking a heavy toll.

More from The Guardian and the New York Times, or click here for more photographs from Flickr.

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2 Responses to Raising awareness of coral reefs through the art of crochet

  1. mel says:

    ABC TV featured on Australian Story “the Heat of the Moment” last night and I watched with great interest. I wondered how I could contribute to Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s plight to save the oceans reefs/great barrier reef. I certainly need no convincing about which side to be on.

    A creative person myself, I have seen the crotched coral reef project featured in various publications and commend these fabulous and creative interpretations towards of Natural History.

    well done on the program last night, I will be reading your website and hope to support the plight of in my own creative ways..

  2. ChrisD says:

    There’s also an awesome TED talk about related to this project:

    “Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.”

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef.html

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