TODAY | October 03, 2013
>> there are times when mother nature is so beautiful, they get trampled by all the people that go to see that beauty. one man has found a way to protect mother nature from the horrors. we are off the coast of cancun, mexico. the coral reef here is second only in size to australia's great barrier reef . but what makes this area truly notable, an extraordinary underwater museum. more than 500 sculptures in an everlasting display t. goal for the artist jason taylor , that's him in the water there, draw the daily crush of recreational divers away from the monita natural reef because too many kicks from fins are breaking and killing the corals.
>> accident grow right back?
>> it does grow back. it can take 50 odd years. when it's happening on a daily basis, there is really not much chance of survival for the coral.
>> reporter: jason ban this ambitious project four years ago a. self described ecosculpture, his work financed in part by the mexican government . here in the care bone sea, there are now more than 200 tons of sculptures on exhibit. 15 to 30 feet in depth. the audience, adventure seekers and the fish.
>> a lot, i was producing land in london and i kind of felt that besides the artistic value, that i was just creating large objects of land. land is a premium i felt it needed like another purpose.
>> jason 's work is playful, like the man laying on his couch, eating a burger and frierks watching tv . symbolic like a politician with his head buried in the sand and inspiring. like the woman with her arms stretched to the surface. in most cases, these begin with the real person. like the yoga instructor who held that pose for the 40 minutes needed to let the goop dry, which brings us to the most recent casting session.
>> the challenge for me is you want to have an expression that's going to stand the test of time. not some governory expression every snorkeler will laugh at when they see it.
>> it's very exciting. it's an on nor, it's a little terrifying.
>> i can't wait to see it some day myself to be sort of immortalized.
>> you know, i think it's kind of cool. i didn't know you were going in the ear. no, it's okay.
>> reporter: sealed first in an algae-based wrap an smothered in plaster, in less than 20 minutes the molds degree, jason gingerly pulls them off.
>> there you go. you can see them.
>> that's crazy.
>> after a while that, thing weighs a ton.
>> yeah, yeah, it's heavy.
>> i'm alive! wow!
>> jason took the impressions back to mexico and used each to create the "today" show anchor team.
>> we are very, very cautious. we have done lots of environmental studies and permits to make sure we are not harming the environment course in anyway. these sculptures actually promote life under water t. aim is that they grow in the fisherie.
>> and just this past week, matt, savannah, natalie and al settled into their new home, which is now under the sea under the sea
>> familiar faces in the world's largest fish tank [ music playing ]
>> while all of you guys are getting sunburned with matt down there. so am i, jason made a cast of me and put it down there. there are now 503 sculpt chours spread across 2 acres.
>> we lock like lex will you thur all of us.
>> i think worry scarying the fish.
>> well, actually, you had your mouth opened, i had to clean out a fish.
>> oh, wow.
>> it's interesting. thank you so