Peter Ridd has lived by the Great Barrier Reef for most of his life. He knows it and he loves it. Nothing is so important than its protection and preservation. For more than three decades the Reef and the marine region of which it is a key part have been central to his scientific research. Controversially, he has been critical of science linking climate change and polluted water to coral bleaching on the Reef.
In Reef Heresy? Ridd provides a comprehensive, evidence-based account of the state of the Reef for Australians interested in this priceless national treasure, and the science they need to understand its condition properly. He systematically examines major potential dangers to the Reef – coral-eating crown-of-thorns star fish, the impact nutrient pollution from agriculture, dredging of shipping ports, climate change, coal dust, over-fishing, herbicides.
The conclusion of this study is that it is essential that the health and vitality of the Reef and its environs should be jealously protected. Equally, in Ridd's opinion, there is little in its present condition, analysed in the perspective of more than half-a-century, to warrant the alarm and even hysteria which too often mark any discussion or debate about the Reef and the policies promoted by governments purportedly to safeguard its well-being.
A key to protecting the future of the Reef is ensuring the quality of the science upon which governments base policies and legislation for its protection. He advocates rigorous, independent quality assurance of major research, especially that which forms the foundation of public policy.
Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist, is the author or joint author of more than 100 scientific papers and co-inventor of a range of instruments used on reefs around the world.