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Sea Life Stars in Video by Miami Business


Fluorescent and fleshy solitary stony corals are on display at the Coral Morphologic lab, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Miami. Coral Morphologic was founded by marine biologist Colin Foord and musician J.D. McKay to raise awareness about dying coral reefs. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Sea Life Stars in Video by Miami Business
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Just below large cruise ships near the port of Miami, an underwater camera captures video from another world. That camera is showing marine life in an unusual way.

The camera is in Miami’s Government Cut waterway for shipping, and it belongs to Coral Morphologic. It is a business led by a scientist and a musician. They mix science, art and business to bring undersea life into popular culture.

Their company produces beautiful images that show underwater creatures on social media. It also makes videos of coral set to music. And it sells clothing for the beach with ocean designs.

Colin Foord and his business partner J.D. McKay recently discussed their business with the Associated Press.

“We aren’t all art. We aren’t all science. We aren’t all tech. We are an alchemy,” Foord said.

Alchemy is a term that means a process that changes or transforms something into something else even more valuable.

One of their most popular projects is the Coral City Camera. It recently passed 2 million views and usually has about 100 viewers online at any given time each day.

Foord said, “We’re going to actually be able to document one year of coral growth.” He said that has never been done in a live environment on a coral reef. Foord added that is “only possible because we have this technological connection right here at the port of Miami that allows us to have power and internet.”

The livestream has already revealed that staghorn and other corals can do well in an undersea environment close to a large city.

Foord and McKay’s video has shown fluorescence in some of the coral. That is an unexpected behavior for such corals, Foord said.

Foord added that the video has shown 177 species of fish, and other sea life including dolphins and manatees.

McKay, meanwhile, described how he mixes video and music in another project. He uses an aquarium – a very large container for sea creatures.

McKay explained, “We essentially create a set with one of these aquariums, and then obviously there’s actors — coral or shrimp or whatever — and then we film it…I soundtrack it with some ambient-like sounds, something very oceanic.”

Ambient music is quiet and relaxing with sounds that repeat many times.

Marine biologist Colin Foord, rear, and musician J.D. McKay work at their Coral Morphologic lab, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Miami. They have been on a 15-year mission to raise awareness about dying coral reefs with a company that presents the issue through science and art. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Marine biologist Colin Foord, rear, and musician J.D. McKay work at their Coral Morphologic lab, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Miami. They have been on a 15-year mission to raise awareness about dying coral reefs with a company that presents the issue through science and art. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Foord described the importance of their work to the environment.

“The port is a priceless place for coral research,” he said.

Beyond the science, there are the clothes. Coral Morphologic sells swimwear that takes designs from flower anemones and brain coral. The company says it uses materials that are good for the environment such as a kind of nylon taken from old fishing nets.

“We see the power of tech connecting people with nature. We are lucky as artists, and corals are benefitting,” Foord said.

I’m John Russell.

Curt Anderson and Cody Jackson reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English.

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Words in This Story

cruise ship –n. a very large ship used for pleasure or vacation trips

marine –adj. related to the sea or the ocean

coral – n. a hard material formed on the bottom of the sea by the skeletons of small creatures

reef – n. a long line of rocks or coral or a high area of sand near the surface of the water in the ocean

fluorescence n. the act of producing a very bright light

species – n. biology : a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants

anemone – n. a small, brightly colored sea animal that looks like a flower and sticks to rocks or coral

benefit –v. to receive a good result from an action or situation

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