Local marine species have an unusual habitat in the form of an artificial reef sculpture created by more than 60 Palm Beach State College students.
Weighing 10 tons and measuring 13 feet long, 8 feet wide and 11 feet tall, the Reef Hope Project Artificial Reef Sculpture resides at a depth of 40 feet about 1 mile southeast of the Lake Worth Inlet, approximately 3,000 feet from the shore. Scuba divers and anglers can take note of the GPS coordinates: 26 45.31, -80 01.581.
The sculpture’s stainless steel form, fabricated by welding students, represents a DNA helix in the shape of the infinity symbol, and small ceramic sculptures of coral-like forms, created by art students, adorn the base. Engineering students produced CAD drawings to help determine the size and weight of the sculpture and account for wave action, so that even if a hurricane comes through, the sculpture won’t topple. Environmental science students assisted with the sculpture research and assembly and will also participate in ongoing studies to determine which species utilize the artificial reef over time. All materials were thoroughly researched and tested for durability and safety for marine life.
By taking the DNA helix and turning it into an infinity symbol, the sculpture’s creators hope to convey the message that it will be part of sustaining marine life for many generations to come.