In recent years, a catastrophic global bleaching event devastated many of the world's precious coral reefs. Working on the front lines of ruin, today's coral scientists are struggling to save these important coral reef ecosystems from the imminent threats of rapidly warming, acidifying, and polluted oceans. Coral Whisperers captures a critical moment in the history of coral reef science. Based on over one hundred interviews with leading scientists and conservation managers, Irus Braverman documents a community caught in an existential crisis and alternating between despair and hope. In this important new book, corals emerge not only as signs and measures of environmental catastrophe, but also as catalysts for action.
Irus Braverman is Professor of Law at the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. She is the author of Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine (2009), Zooland: The Institution of Captivity (2012), and Wild Life: The Institution of Nature (2015).
"Coral Whisperers is exceptional in its scientific detail but also in relating the personal stories of the scientists, or "whisperers," who follow the lives of corals and invest their own lives in striving to preserve them. Just as important, the book is a stern warning that the earth's oceans are in grave danger."
– Foreword Reviews
"Analyzing the dual narrative of hope and despair that defines many environmental concerns and discussing the challenges of the various approaches to protecting coral reefs worldwide, Braverman, an experienced diver and an expert on land-use law, brings thoughtfulness and urgency to this well-organized work."
– Library Journal
"How to save the world's dying coral reefs? Passionate advocates, original approaches, and surprising scholarship mean that all is not lost – yet. Compassionate, comprehensive, clear-eyed, and hopeful, Coral Whisperers deserves a very loud cheer!"
– Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
"Coral reefs are the single most vulnerable ecosystem on a warming planet, and in this volume we meet the remarkable people trying to prevent their total devastation. May this book move you to action!"
– Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
"Reef corals are dying and scientists despair about what, if anything, can be done to save them. Irus Braverman brilliantly analyzes the emotional underpinnings of this debate and how deeply they will influence how science is done as the Anthropocene environmental crisis unfolds."
– Jeremy B.C. Jackson, coauthor of Breakpoint: Reckoning with America's Environmental Crises
"Coral Whisperers offers a thoroughgoing inventory and expert assessment of the many scientific debates circulating around today's beleaguered coral reefs. Braverman powerfully captures today's urgent conversation about the future of some of Earth's most remarkable ocean ecosystems."
– Stefan Helmreich, author of Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas
"Coral Whisperers provides a unique perspective on one of the existential problems of our time. Through interviews with a large number of coral reef scientists (and some managers), Braverman explores the current environmental crisis as it is affecting coral reefs, and its impact on the scientists themselves. It is rare to see a book about how scientists do their science, and about how their experiences affect them as people, as citizens, and as scientists. This is a significant contribution to documenting a critical time in the history of coral reef science and management, and to revealing scientists as real people."
– Peter F. Sale, author of Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist's View of the Crisis We Face