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In the ideal catalogue of the natural wonders on Earth, a prominent position must be reserved for coral reefs. Warm, crystal-clear waters inviting exploration, exuberant life manifesting itself in a myriad of forms and colours these are the principle features of the extraordinary habitats unique to the tropical regions of our planet; incomparable aquatic environments in equilibrium between the sea and the land and prey to the forces of both. Anyone diving along a coral reef will observe a spectacle comparable only to the lushest equatorial forests. As in that green realm, here in the blue of the ocean humans must come to terms with the exceptional variety and vitality of nature. Life on coral reefs offers continual discoveries and intense experiences for biologists as much as scuba divers and snorkelers encountering the incredible underwater world for the first time. This volume, thanks to scientific texts, splendid photographs, and scrupulously illustrated tables, guides readers in unlocking the secrets of this underwater world. An appendix completes the book, presenting the man fish and invertebrates that populate the reefs of the world through 315 colour drawings and brief biological cards.