cover image Reef


Rebecca Kai Dotlich, . . Dorling Kindersly, $40 (360pp) ISBN 978-0-7566-3122-2

This brilliant photographic compilation by small Malaysian-based diving collective ScubaZoo introduces the ecology of oceanic reefs, both temperate and tropical. Though technological advances and the devastation of global reefs have spurred many experienced diver-photographers to publish photo collections, the dazzling photography in this one stands out dramatically, as does its inclusion of images made simultaneously by still and video photographers (the book includes a DVD.) The photographs allow close study of coral, fish, crustaceans and many other enchanting creatures, while the video shows the vivid activity of the reef habitat. The helpful text provides a solid introduction to reef ecology, divided into reef landscapes, their inhabitants' survival behaviors, conservation issues and a broader look at reefs worldwide. The sole problem with the book is the lack of scale indications: it's hard to tell if a given animal is minute or enormous. But this is a small quibble: the book provides an excellent introduction to fragile reef ecosystems. (Sept.)