Sunken Treasure: The Art & Science of Coral Reefs

Sunken Treasure
Exhibit Duration

Corals reefs cover less than one percent of the surface of planet Earth but are home to nearly twenty-five percent of all marine species. They are productive ecosystems that support marine life, protect land from the damage posed by ocean waves and hurricanes, and provide food and income for half a billion people.  


Sunken Treasure: The Art and Science of Coral Reefs explores the history of coral and coral reefs through a unique display of rare books and coral specimens collected by Dr. James W. Porter during his fifty-year career as a marine ecologist. Mimicking the cabinets of curiosity that emerged in Europe during the 16th century, the exhibit places manuscripts and books dating to the 1600s alongside many of the reef-building coral species that they describe and illustrate. It includes works by scientific luminaries Charles Darwin, Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck, Carl Linnaeus, Ernst Haeckel, and more.     


This exhibit was made possible with support from the Stephen E. Draper Center and Archives for the Study of Water Law and Policy.  This exhibit will remain on display through Friday, July 5, 2024.