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The lure of the life that inhabits the ocean's reefs and open waters is no secret to scuba enthusiasts and snorkelers who enjoy gazing upon this wonderful world through their dive masks. This practical and comprehensive guidebook for divers, naturalists and ocean lovers identifies the most commonly encountered animals and other organisms in the tropical marine environment and identifies them in more than 1,000 beautiful color photographs to provide a window into this magnificent world.
This updated edition features new photos, 33 new species profiles and an extended chapter about the state of the ocean and reefs on our rapidly changing planet. Reef Life is a handy, portable and comprehensive reference in a time when understanding and appreciating the diversity of our tropical oceans is at a critical point.
A gallery of over 425 ray-finned fish species, as well as elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates), invertebrates, marine reptiles and marine mammals, offers readers an extensive identification guide to the most commonly seen marine species, with detailed descriptions of size, habitat, range and behavior.
Reef Life also includes:
- A guide to tropical marine ecosystems
- Surveys of global coral reef communities, from the Caribbean to the Red Sea
- A discussion about factors threatening marine ecosystems today.
This is an essential selection for marine science and travel/tourism collections, scuba divers and snorkelers, and retailers and libraries in oceanside locations.
Brandon Cole is a biologist, wildlife photographer and photojournalist specializing in the marine environment worldwide. His photography has appeared in hundreds of magazines including GEO, National Geographic, Newsweek, Outside, Scientific American and Smithsonian. He lives in Spokane Valley, Washington.
Scott W. Michael is an internationally recognized writer, underwater photographer and researcher who specializes in elasmobranchs (i.e., sharks, skates and rays) and coral reef fishes. He is the author of Reef Sharks and Rays of the World (1994). A scientific consultant for National Geographic Explorer and the Discovery Channel, he lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Reviews of the first edition
"This colorful, eye-catching title provides the reader with in-depth text on tropical marine ecosystems accompanied by brilliant photography [...] The book centers around the coral belt [...] . Along with information on the marine life in these areas the authors provide users with what they are likely to see while diving in these areas [...] Useful as an identification guide as well as for those who want to browse the incredible photographs."
– Mark A. Wilson, American Reference Books Annual 2014 on 15/08/2014
"Identifies hundreds of the most commonly encountered species in tropical marine environments all over the world [...] Reef Life features more than 1,000 color photographs of 800 species. The ID guide includes the most likely encountered fishes and features name, species, habitat, range and a description particular to the animal covered. Readers will find information on feeding, mimicry and symbiosis. There is also a chapter on conservation."
– Sport Diver Magazine on 01/06/2013
"Brandon Cole is one of the world's most accomplished underwater photographers and certainly one of the most prolific [...] He has put a collection of his pictures together to form a useful guide to tropical marine life. The text is by Scott Michael, a sometime scientific consultant to National Geographic Explorer and Discovery Channel. Six hundred pages make up a weighty volume measuring 16 × 18cm, and half of that is reproduced in the conventional form of a fish-identification book, with a photograph and details of an example of each species. However, much of this book contains chapters on such issues as parental care in reef fish, schooling and shoaling, venom and poison, and cleaner-fish ecology. It even has an appropriately small section on algae. A major section details the different coral reef communities found around the world [...] There are chapters on elasmobranches, invertebrates, marine reptiles and marine mammals and all are illustrated, almost without exception, with beautiful pictures by Brandon Cole, although Scott Michael and a few others have filled in the inevitable holes. The text is informative and well sourced without being too wordy."
– John Bantin Divernet, Diver Magazine online on 01/06/2013
"Anyone fascinated by the underwater world will be riveted by the photos in this richly illustrated guide [...] Readers can lose themselves in the magnificent environment beneath the sea, observing a parrot fish sleeping in its mucus cocoon and a manta ray being cleaned by two remoras as a diver swims nearby. The text, written by Michael, who has worked as a scientific consultant for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, is aimed at the novice, but it is a comprehensive resource on the many different aquatic species that make their homes in and around the world's reefs. Each listing gives the creature's dimensions, location and specific details about its behavior. For snorkelers or divers who enjoy identifying the underwater life they have seen, this well researched and impeccably documented book will be an invaluable resource."
– Publishers Weekly on 05/04/2013