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Speaking Coral
 This project is born from my admiration and curiosity for these amazing  invertebrate creatures.
I wanted to create a voice for Coral, to raise awareness that there is a whole magical world under the water that is
hugely important to the life and survival of many marine species, our oceans, us humans and the entire planet. 
Each letter represents a different fact on Coral and the geometric lines and particles around them are actually trash bits
referring to the on-growing issue with plastic and garbage all over the world.

This project is currently held as an expo at AquaRio - Aquarium at Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. An award winning aquarium in coral research.
This alphabet is also being integrated into their educational program to help children learn about coral species.​​​​​​​
“A voice to Corals” 
I want to dedicate this alphabet to the incredibly advanced and majestic creatures called Corals and take the opportunity 
to learn more about them, and of course share my learnings with all of you.
“ Bleaching” 
When the water gets too warm, the algae living in coral tissue can produce toxins harmful to both them and their coral hosts. 
For self-preservation, the coral polyps must expel the algae and because coral tissue is transparent, coral reefs appear white. 
The corals can stay in this condition for a while, but if the condition doesn't change they are susceptible to deseases and may die of starvation.​​​​​​​
“Carnivore cravings”
There are some corals called Anemones that use stinging tentacles to scoop up zooplankton, small fish and sometimes even crabs. 
I found out that there is a rare species that can actually swim ! Look up “swimming anemone” to see the one that inspired this letter.
“Dead Serious”
When coral die, their skeleton becomes overgrown with algae giving it a gloomy appearance. 
During the last decade, due to rising temperatures, there have been several mass bleaching events worldwide. 
Last mass bleaching period (2014- 2017) is considered the longest, most widespread, and the most damaging coral bleaching event on record. 
“East shores”
Coral reefs usually grow up on the east shore of land masses. The temperature there is thought to be warmer than the western side. 
The ideal temperature for a coral to thrive is between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are corals that have started to show fluorescence lately. It is something spectacular to witness. 
Some studies say injured or dying corals started producing it as a defense mechanism, other studies say it is a type of sunscreen that works
by filtering out harmful ultraviolet rays.
“Getting busy”
In a synchronised yearly event, during a full moon  and a right water temperature, 
the corals expel male and female reproductive cells called Gametes to make baby coral embryos (called Planula) 
hat travel with water currents until they arrive to a hard surface ( in many cases) to completely different coral reefs from which they came from. 
This process allows infinite genetic and new combinations to be formed constantly! 
This magical event is called Coral Spawning.
A healthy coral reef provides the perfect environment for feeding and raising babies for many species of underwater creatures like plankton, fish, even small mammals. Huge communities live and thrive  there. Coral Reefs are their safe haven, their home. 
“Information is key”
Getting informed on any subject can only make you grow and be better. Take a moment to really understand what is going on and the actual reach of the situation. 
Get inspired by the new creative ways of living a more sustainable life. This letter is inspired by the “Sea Pen Coral -Pennatulacea” 
Jellyfish are related to Corals. They are close cousins of the Cnidarian family (because of the stinging tentacles). 
Besides using their sting to capture prey, the tentacles act as a defence mechanism too.  
Some small fish even seek shelter under the jelly's hoods and “hitch a ride” to safer places if there is a lot of predators around. 
Besides being the most stylish Uber drivers underwater, these creatures are so incredible that they can Benjamin Button themselves into a larvae 
if conditions are harsh and grow back again whenever!
“Keystone species”
Keystone species are critical for the overall structure and function of an ecosystem. 
Corals are considered the ultimate keystone species because they provide the underlying structure for reef communities, 
supplying them with nutrients, shelter and the right habitat for many species to thrive. 

The parrotfish is also a keystone species and is the only one of thousands of reef fish that regularly performs the task
of scraping and cleaning inshore coral reefs. Losing such irreplaceable species could be catastrophic for the whole ecosystem.
We can all help by refusing to buy/eat keystone species  to save our reefs. 
“Living Creatures” 
Friendly reminder: Corals are not plants nor things, they are majestic ancient living creatures (even the ones that don’t move ). 
A coral reef isn’t one ‘thing’, it’s actually a community of life that lives and thrives in one location. 
Did you know that scientists have been finding many curative properties in corals?  The sponge corals, Porifera, have compounds 
that han help treat cancer and many other serious deseases.
There are so much more for us to find out but our current way of life could erase potential cures for mankind. 
“Not for sale” 
I was watching corals for sale in a local animal store and although I was mesmerised by their beauty a lot of questions popped up in my mind:
From whom the store is getting the corals? are those people doing that extraction with the right knowledge to not destroy entire ecosystems that depend on corals? How are the areas being protected if there is a worldwide crisis of entire coral reefs dying?  If there is damage to the reefs because of coral poaching, how is this being penalised? All that and at the same time I was wanting to have all of them in my house in a huge aquarium… 
that’s the thing with us humans, always wanting to have everything.
“Outlived dinosaurs”
Corals were around at the time of the dinosaurs and they are survivors of the mass extinction period. 
Since they grow very slowly (an average rate of just 2cm per year), some of the corals we see today have taken as much as 50 million years to form. 
This is why scientists worry so much when corals die: once they’re gone, their populations won’t be restored within a human lifetime. 
Coral Poaching is another important issue that should raise more concern that it currently does. 
There are people called “poachers” that make a lot of money stealing valued coral from protected areas and sell them
to make many types of jewellery. There should be no market for coral jewellery. Do not support this inhuman practice!
“Question everything” 
I think by asking the right questions we can expand our points of view and grow as individuals as well as a community. Think: how much trash do I create daily?  now think big scale: how much trash for every person in your country today?  What % of this trash ends up in our rivers, seas and oceans? How much longer can our current lifestyle be sustainable? We all need to try to think about things that matter and know that we can and must make a difference.
"Reality check”
Scientists believe that if us, as a cvilization, don’t change our lifestyle drastically, more than 90% of corals worldwide will die by the year 2050.
Not mentioning all the huge problems that would be happening by then. I am afraid to think about the chain reaction if we let it get to that point. 
This is a hard core reality check friends!
“Shout-out to Giant Clams” 
Besides being too cool for school, they are reef builders, food factories, shelters, reservoirs of algae and water filters, all in one. 
These iconic invertebrates have been associated with corals since the late Eocene and they are super important to the health of coral reef communities.  Currently the clam’s worldwide population has been depleting due to continuos poaching and the rise in water temperatures. 
Their muscle is considered a delicacy in some countries and there is a huge demand for their shells on the black market for decorative purposes. 
Personally I prefer to see them alive, just watching them open and close is so astounding. 
“Time is running out”
There are scientists stating that we,  us humans as a species, have only 12 years to revert the climate crisis we are creating to our planet by our current way of life. If nothing is done by then, the damage would be irreversible. 
This news was almost a year ago. Think about that for a bit.
“Underneath it all"
Underneath it all we have something very much in common with corals: we are all part of one. 
We make actions every day, but the impact on our planet is made by us as a civilization not as each individual. 
Just one coral is a huge community of polyps, algae and other living creatures that do their parti in making super awesome stuff every day. 
One of the functions that amaze me the most is that Polyps are able to absorb carbon dioxide and recycle it, cleaning out oceans from some of all they absorb. Being able to work as a community to achieve great things, we could learn from that.  

For a big positive change to happen, every single one of us has to do their part every single day.  
This letter U is inspired by the Bubble Coral. 
“Vase Coral"
This letter V is inspired by the “vase sponge coral” These guys are basically a huge mouth that filters through the water and eats on floating particles in the sea. Basically they are cleaning filters of our planet’s water. As a side job they offer shelter to smaller creatures and looking fabulous while doing so.  
Next time you’re diving or snorkeling and you see one, give them a thumb’s up and of course, your respect. 
“What can I do?"
So many people aren’t even aware of the extent of the crisis going on due to all the waste we as humans
produce every day without thinking where it goes, how long it takes to go away or if it goes away at all. 

As consumers: 
Let's try to choose what we buy more wisely, having in mind the bigger picture.  Let's tell the brands what we want as buyers,
Brand owners, creatives &  designers: 
et's start creating smarter solutions for our products that won’t harm humans, other living creatures nor the planet. 
Let’s turn our ways into a more environmentally friendly system 
and start creating more lasting products with better materials.
“The X files" 
This letter X honors the Staghorn Coral. Them, along with Elkhorn and Star corals built Caribbean coral reefs over the last 5,000 years. 
Looking back to the 1980’s a severe disease event caused major mortality throughout its range and now the population is less than 3% of its former abundance. After 2012 it became an endangered species. 
The good thing is this coral is one of the fastest growing ones and can be reproduced by fragmenting it’s branches. 
Many organizations are working tirelessly to restore a healthy Staghorn Coral habitat. 
“Young & Brightest”
I believe in the Young and brightest. New generations bring new hopes, they adapt, find new ways to overcome difficulties and learn how to thrive. 
Many of us are also becoming much more aware on the impact we are making on our precious planet.  
And I have hope, I believe that we can make a positive change for the future generations to come. 
The final letter is dedicated to the incredible microscopic creatures without whom corals wouldn’t be able to live: Zooxanthellae.  
They are single cell micro organisms, a tiny round algae that live inside the coral’s hard structures in big colonies. The Zoox’s synthesize everything coral polyps absorb from the water to provide corals with oxygen and the nutrition that they need to survive and thrive. Zooxanthellae are also responsible for giving the corals their breathtaking bright colors, without them, the corals would look pale white (bleached). The Coral and Zooxanthellae: a long and perfect dance throughout history.

Instagram story loops
These short animations were made with giphy stickers for instagram stories to upload along the letters.
They symbolize all the creatures that live around coral. 
The second phase of this project is creating call to action words that can trigger a reaction about
the worldwide problematic that concerns each and every single one of us.

Some of these words have already been printed on unique yoga mats that have been sold to raise funds
towards coral conservation for ReefCheckDR.

Hopefully, with this educational project can show you the incredible wonders of the Coral world
and I can inspire you to strive towards a better future for us all.

Small steps begin big changes.​​​​​​​
Speaking Coral

Speaking Coral

An alphabet created to share the wonders of coral world as a way of creating awareness of the worldwide problematic affecting them.