Scientists strive to make accurate models of living systems, but they can run into times when even computers will not give the best result. In the case of coral reefs or other frilly organisms such as lettuce, it turns out that the art of crochet is the most accurate way to create a model. These frilly beauties of nature are examples of hyperbolic geometry, a non-Euclidean geometry based on a pseudo-sphere instead of a plane or sphere. Gaining understanding to hyperbolic geometry unlocks many mysteries in our natural world and even the universe.
To learn more about coral reefs and math and crochet, check out this TED talk.