Papua New Guinea
Project info

Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems on our planet. They not only provide shelter and food for the denizens of the deep, but they also generously help to feed and support us humans. We, however, have adopted lifestyles that endanger their very existence. We pollute, over-fish, and release gases into the atmosphere that are causing acidification and warming of the oceans to an extent that corals are no longer able to tolerate. Today, coral reefs worldwide face multiple threats to their existence, both locally and globally. The frequency and severity of coral mass bleaching and mortality events have risen dramatically in the last few decades, and vast areas that once contained coral reefs teeming with life have succumbed and died. Nonetheless, despite the general global decline of coral reefs, we can still find reefs all around the world in which the corals are seemingly more resilient and appear to be still thriving. This project illustrates the thriving reefs of Papua New Guinea and it was captured while I was on a scientific expedition to Ambitle Island, in the east of Papua New Guinea, as part of the CARIOCA project (Coral reef acclimatization to ocean acidification). In many cases, underwater photographers are drawn to fish and other big animals due to their interesting behavior, abundance, brilliant coloration, or sheer size. In this portfolio, my intention was to bring into the spotlight the backbone of the fascinating underwater tropical world: stony corals. They are the engineers, architects, and the artists that build and maintain the complex reef structures, and breathe life into them.