Reef Life: An Underwater Memoir

Callum Roberts. Pegasus, $28.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-64313-329-4
Marine scientist Roberts (The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea) offers a vital account of his dives through the world’s coral reefs. Roberts takes readers through almost four decades of his undersea explorations, beginning in 1982, when, as an undergraduate, he first dove amid reefs in the Red Sea. Throughout, Roberts shows a gift for vivid descriptions of the creatures he encounters (“the surgeonfish were pastel blue ovals with two dusky facial bars and puckered lips with which they kissed weed from the rocks”). In addition to showcasing memorable specimens of marine life, Roberts enables his audience to marvel at the miracle of natural engineering which coral reefs represent, as “they are visible from space, but to see clearly the animals that build them you need a magnifying glass.” He ends in 2019, covering the devastation to major formations such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and hopefully raising the possibility that some reefs can adapt to global warming. Natural history buffs and conservationists will cherish this vivid aquatic odyssey. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2020
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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