Weaving – Porcelain ‘Spines’ and Bull Kelp ‘Ecosystem Tipping’

My fragile weaving of porcelain urchin spines and pierced kelp is my reflection on new climate change driven pressures on Tasmania’s marine environment. They intertwine two species, the long spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) and Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum).

The long spined sea urchin migrated south with the warmer East Australian current’s insurgence into Tasmanian waters. These urchins feed on seaweeds and have formed ‘barrens’ devoid of biodiversity on Tasmania’s East Coast. The East Australian Current is nutrient poor unlike the cooler, nutrient rich waters of the Southern Ocean and has also impacted on seaweed species. Many seaweed beds have declined due to ecological change from urchin barrens, temperature and nutrient stresses. Degraded marine ecosystems show small markers before ‘tipping’ into collapse.

This work explores fragility, interconnectivity and resilience; a probing of Tasmania’s astonishing temperate marine environment’s ability to survive change.

Jane Bamford, Ecosystem Tipping, 2018, Porcelain 'spines' and Bull Kelp. Photo credit Uffe Schultze

Jane Bamford, Ecosystem Tipping,Detail 2018, Porcelain 'spines' and Bull Kelp. Photo credit Uffe Schultze