When we think of coral reefs we tend to think of beautiful rock-like structures teeming with colourful fish and other marine life. But what exactly are the "corals" in the coral reef? What are these creatures that start out very small and then have the ability to grow large enough to be seen from outer space? Are they animals, plants, microbes, or rocks?
With humour and clarity, David Vaughan takes us on an incredible journey through the secret life of corals to answer these questions, and more. He shines a light on the unlikely partners that comprise actual corals and reveals the curious ways they live, grow, reproduce, protect themselves, and defend their turf. In addition, Vaughan helps us understand why corals are so important for all life – both on land and in the sea. This generational title clearly explains the most pressing environmental threats corals face today, as well as new coral restoration practices that provide hope for their future.
The Secret Life of Corals is a compelling and fun read and is for everyone interested in the marvellous workings of the natural world. Dive in and prepare to be amazed!
Part I--What Is a Coral?
Chapter 1. The Importance of Corals
Chapter 2. What Exactly Is a Coral?
Chapter 3. Polyp the Animal
Chapter 4. Plants that Grow in Animals
Chapter 5. Microbes--The Coral Microbiome, Immunity from the Outside In
Chapter 6. Mineral: Caught Between a "Rock" and a "Hard Place"
Chapter 7. Coral Growth, the Odyssey from Larvae to Reef
Part II--Sex, War, and Rocks that Don't Roll
Chapter 8. The Fossil Record--How Fast Is the Slow Growth of Coral?
Chapter 9. Coral Sex and Bundles of Joy
Chapter 10. A Deep Dive into Sexual Strategies
Chapter 11. The Fantastic Journey and Search for the First and Final Home
Chapter 12. Coral Wars--Slow Motion Fighting with Specialized Weapons
Chapter 13. Cosmic Inner Space and Deep-water Corals
Chapter 14. Community Communications
Part III--A New Hope for Corals
Chapter 15. Yesterday's Extinctions: Five Previous Episodes of Coral Hide and Seek
Chapter 16. The Need to Consider Gloom and Doom
Chapter 17. Hope, Coral Trees, and Bucket Babies
Chapter 18. My Eureka Mistake and a Game Changer for Corals
Chapter 19. Fusion and Con-Fusion: "Bring Out Your Dead"
Chapter 20. Size Really Does Matter, Not Age!
Chapter 21. Scaling Up Coral Production
Part IV--The Future
Chapter 22. New Tools of the Trade
Chapter 23. Speed Bumps
Chapter 24. Moving Forward, Secrets, Hope, and More
Dr David E. Vaughan has held positions in marine aquaculture research and development for over 30 years. For 15 years, he was the Executive Director of the Mote Marine Laboratory in the Florida Keys where he started the Coral Reef Restoration Program. Through this program, he was heralded as being the first to develop the new technology of coral micro-fragmentation which dramatically improves the rate at which coral reefs can be restored. In 2017 he received the Chicago Field Museum Parker/Gentry Award as "Conservationist of the Year" for his work with coral restoration.
"An amazing journey through their hidden world."
– Philippe Cousteau