Corals are among the most varied lifeforms on Earth, ranging from mushroom corals and leather corals to button polyps, sea fans, anemones, and pulse corals. Bridging the gap between plant and animal, these marine invertebrates serve as homes to reef fish and share symbiotic relationships with photosynthesizing algae, which provide corals with their nourishment. This stunningly illustrated book profiles the astonishing diversity of the world's coral groups, describing key aspects of their natural history and explaining why coral reefs are critical to the health of our oceans. Representative examples of corals have been selected to illustrate the broad range of species, and Coral Reefs: A Natural History's lively and informative commentary covers everything from identification to conservation, making it an essential resource for marine biologists, divers, and anyone who is fascinated by these remarkable sea creatures.
Charles Sheppard is professor emeritus of life sciences at the University of Warwick. His books include The Biology of Coral Reefs and Coral Reefs: A Very Short Introduction.
Consultant editor Russell Kelley is the author of the Indo Pacific Coral Finder and the Reef Finder. He is program director of the Coral Identification Capacity Building Program, which provides training in coral identification around the world.