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The fourth volume of a series devoted to the underwater fauna of New Caledonia, one of the richest in the world. This superbly illustrated guide to the seafans describes many species for the first time. Aimed at both specialists and amateurs, it is of particular interest to underwater explorers.
The biologists and biochemists at the IRD Noumea Centre have assembled a substantial collection of marine invertebrates during their research programmes. These have been completed by field observation and no less considerable photographic documentation on the marine fauna of New Caledonia and especially of the lagoon.
The study of gorgonians entrusted to Dr Grasshoff has enabled immense progress in knowledge since examination of 83 species led to the description of 58 new species, two of which in collaboration with Dr Alderslade. In addition to a description of each species, the reader will find much information on the morphology and anatomy of gorgonians and Octocorollia in general, the geographical distribution of the species, their ecology, nutrition and reproduction and the interest that the chemical compounds extracted from them represent for pharmacology and cosmetology.
However, the interest of this book also lies in the close collaboration established between this eminent systematics specialist and Georges Bargibant, field biologist and remarkable underwater photographer. The exceptional quality of the photographs will be a valuable aid for scientists in their work on the identification of species, and the general public will discover the great beauty of gorgonians, a very special animal group that used to be considered as being plants.