The Coral Triangle, straddling the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, harbours the greatest biodiversity of marine life on the planet. It is home to a wondrous variety, including 75% of the world's coral species and around 2500 species of fish. The biological and environmental diversity is driven by the volcanically active and complex geology of the so called 'Ring of Fire'. Habitats range from underwater slopes of volcanic black sand to extensive coral reefs in atolls and vast calderas. While clearly vulnerable to increasing global threats such as climate change, pollution and overfishing, the Coral Triangle currently features some the richest coral reefs in the world.
With stunning photography supported by an engaging and accessible text, At the Heart of the Coral Triangle highlights and celebrates this biodiversity along with the underlying message that it needs our care and protection before it is too late.
- Fish Portraits
Alan Powderham has been a scuba diver and underwater photographer for over 40 years having his first book, Venezuela Submarina, on the marine life of the southern Caribbean published in 1983. By profession he is an engineering consultant specialising in sustainable solutions and environmental engineering, promoting green and low carbon technology.
Sancia van der Meij is a tropical marine biologist. She is an assistant professor at the University of Groningen, where she heads her own lab on diversification and symbiosis on coral reefs, and an honorary researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center. She has extensive field experience in the Coral Triangle (and beyond) since 2005.
"The focus of this book is on Southeast Asia's reefs in the 'Coral Triangle'. These are at the centre of global biodiversity, with more different species of corals, fish and invertebrate life than anywhere else in the world. We need to significantly raise awareness because reefs today face an existential threat [...] Because most people will not see, let alone study and understand coral reefs, we need books whose photographs and text convey their beauty, nature and extraordinary species. Reefs are the canaries in the coal mine in the sense that they are an ecosystem that is forewarning us about the global extinction of species and systems that began ever since we entered this uncharted Anthropocene epoch. The stunning photographs in this book showing images of some of the world's richest and most intact coral reefs will help to raise awareness, and that is going to be key."
– Charles Sheppard OBE, Professor Emeritus (from the Foreword)