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Coral Reefs: A Very Short Introduction

Popular Science
  • A concise account of the most biodiverse ocean ecosystem
  • Explains how coral reefs are created and have evolved
  • Explores the geological and biological importance coral reefs hold and what we have learnt from them
  • Emphasizes the threats they face and the conservation efforts in place

Series: Very Short Introduction Series (VSI) Volume: 391

By: Charles RC Sheppard(Author)

127 pages, 15 b/w photos and illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Jun 2014 | #208836 | ISBN-13: 9780199682775
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £7.99 $10/€9 approx

About this book

Coral reefs have been long regarded with awe by the millions of people who have encountered them over the centuries. Early seafarers were wary of them, naturalists were confused by them, yet many coastal people benefited greatly from these mysterious rocky structures that grew up to the surface of the sea. They have been rich in their supply of food, and they provided a breakwater from storms and high waves to countless coastal communities that developed from their protection. Their scale is enormous and their value high. Found in countless locations around the world, from the Indo-Pacific coral reef province to the Caribbean and Australia, they support both marine and human life.

In this Very Short Introduction, Charles Sheppard provides an account of what coral reefs are, how they are formed, how they have evolved, and the biological lessons we can learn from them. Today, the vibrancy and diversity of these fascinating ecosystems are under threat from over exploitation and could face future extinction, unless our conservation efforts are stepped up in order to save them.



1: The architecture of a reef
2: The engine of the reef
3: Reef fish and major predators
4: The largest parts of the reef system
5: Developing pressures
6: Climate change and reefs
7: Doing something about it

References and further reading

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Charles Sheppard's research focuses mainly on community ecology, particularly on ecosystem responses to climate change. He works for a number of UN, Governmental, and aid agencies to advise on topical marine and costal developmental issues. He is the author or editor of 10 books, including The Biology of Coral Reefs.

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