SciArt Murals

Coral Reefs in Climate Change

ECOS brought art to the UNSW main campus in the form of science communication mural designs. Five scientists and five artists were paired up to create a mural design based on the research topic of each scientist. The scientists featured are UNSW and University of Newcastle PhD students studying the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Each mural design tells part of the story of this resilient yet fragile ecosystem. 

The artists chosen for this project are a combination of UNSW Art and Design students and professional Sydney-based artists. Each of their artistic styles are different and can be seen in the way they have portrayed their mural content. 

Australia is home to the largest coral reef system in the world that is near and dear to every environmentalists heart. The Great Barrier Reef is an icon for Australia as well as the changing climate. As sea surface temperatures continue to rise, corals face threats such as bleaching and ocean acidification, which make it difficult to sustain the great amount of marine life that rely on this system. These murals help communicate our current understanding of the changing ecosystem and bring some color to a dark topic.

Charlotte Page and Shamanthi Rajashingham create a mural showing the timeline of coral bleaching, with red points representing major bleaching events. The images in the circles represent a schematic of the symbiotic algae leaving its coral host cells when it gets too hot.

Soft Corals of Sydney

Rosie Steinberg & Corey Nichols

Rosie is a PhD student from UNSW studying the pink cauliflower soft coral, Dendronephtheya australis, a home to seahorses in Sydney. Corey portrays these animals in bright and abstract spray paint shapes.

Coral Mermaid

Tess Moriarty & Natalie Rutwoska

Tess is a PhD student at UoN studying coral diseases. Natalie paints a woman overgrown with corals to show our contentedness and dependability with coral reefs.

When Coral meets Kelp

Jess Bergman & Vickie Liu

Jess is a PhD student at UNSW studying the consequences of climate change and how kelp forests may shift towards coral reefs. Vickie portrays this as a shifting system in transition.