Like Buy Share View in Room Title Coral Island IV Artist Maria Mendez Ref GM316 Type Fine Art Print Image Size 9" x 12" (23 x 30 cm) Paper Size 9" x 12" (23 x 30 cm) Price $50.00 £30.00 $50.00 €53.00 Add to basket Description This is a charming representation of a head of coral, by an artist whose fascination with the life form has lasted nearly all her life. This is an attraction shared by many: coral can appear in a hugely diverse range of forms, many of which are extraordinarily beautiful. Corals are marine animals of the class Anthozoa, and exist as small polyps, each only a few millimetres in diameter. A coral “head” is commonly believed to be a single organism; in fact, it is composed of thousands of individual but genetically identical polyps. The origins of coral date to the Cambrian period, some 542 million years ago. Today, coral reefs have become the object of huge international attention. These are aragonite structures, in which the main organisms are stony corals, which secrete a hard exoskeleton of calcium carbonate (limestone). Reefs can support vast aquatic habitats and many, notably the Great Barrier Reef of the coast of Australia, have attracted large numbers of tourists. Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by human activity: pollution and over-fishing are the chief culprits, and some sources estimate that 70% of the world’s reefs could be destroyed in the next 50 years if current trends continue. This would be a grave outcome for the life form so beautifully depicted in this print.