The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
Hawai’i State Motto, Queen Ke’opuolani, 1825 ~ Kamehameha III, 1843
Thus reads the banner at the top of the painting.
Hanau kana, he Ako’ako’a, puka
Born the coral polyp ~ Born of him a coral colony emerged
Kumulipo, Hawaiian Hymn of Creation, Chant One, First Born
Thus reads the banner on the bottom border of the painting.
This painting symbolizes the single magical night of each month orchestrated by the full moon, when the corals spawn. This is a prayer for the perpetuation of righteousness in our care of the ocean’s reefs for all time for all generations. The key in conserving the remaining reefs and allowing them to rejuvenate is awareness. Awareness and…love.
Corals, which are animals, are a foundation species, and the reefs, built over thousands of years, are one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world. Coral reefs comprise less than 1% of the sea floor, yet they are home to thousands of species of fishes, crabs, shrimps, snails, sea worms, rays, marine reptiles and marine mammals and top predators. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The continuing decline of ocean health is one of the most serious and pervasive threats to human well being and our healthy future. One of the biggest challenges is our lack of knowledge about the ocean. Less than 3% of the ocean has been studied and mapped, and there is little information about the state of the ocean. In 2005, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) initiated the Global Marine Species Assessment Project to address this lack of knowledge. The first global review of the threat of extinction for marine vertebrates, plant, and select invertebrates; this study will establish the foundation for ocean conservation.
About one third of the world’s 700 species of coral are threatened with extinction, according to the Global Marine Species Assessment Project 2005 study. This is a sharp increase from a decade ago.
This painting focuses on Hawaiian reefs, which developed in isolation and warm subtropical water temperatures, leading to the formation of several endemic species and many variations. Hawai’i is in the Polynesia/Melanesia biodiversity hotspot.
The federal government may soon protect 66 species of coral around the world, including several often found in Hawai’I. 59 of the species are found in the Pacific.
Often dubbed the rainforests of the sea, near shore reefs support 25% of the world’s sea life. The reefs are threatened by overfishing, recreational activities, runoff, rising ocean temperatures and pollution. Coral has very low tolerance for temperature increases.
Few people realize that fully two-thirds of coral species are to be found in the deep sea. In these depths, the reefs are very old, some older than 8,500 years. Some of them have been building for over 25 million years. In the deep, the coral thrives amidst an amazing landscape of immense mountains, including the Earth’s longest and biggest mountain range, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and fiery volcanoes.
If you love the oceans and the reefs, please join a reef conservation organization in your area. It is so much fun to actively work with others who also love life!