Perhaps the most elegiac aspect of the Reef project is the Bleached Reef, a crochet invocation of coral bleaching. When corals get stressed a phenomenon known as bleaching occurs in which large sections of reef turn white. Over the past two decades coral bleaching events have been increasing in magnitude and frequency around the world as a consequence of increasing sea temperatures due to escalating levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition to causing rises in water temperatures, CO2 also causes seawater to become more acidic, leading scientists to talk about the ‘Coca-Cola ocean’. Acidic waters impede the formation of coral exoskeletons and some scientists predict that if current trends continue corals may no longer be able to build these structures at all by the middle of this century.

The Bleached Bone Reef features works by some of the Project’s most technically skilled crafters including beaded sea creatures by Nadia Severns, Jill Schreier, Pamela Styles and Vonda N. McIntyre.