The World Beneath: The Life and Times of Unknown Sea Creatures and Coral Reefs

Richard Smith. Apollo, $35 (312p) ISBN 978-1-948062-22-0
Packed with vibrant images of sea life large and small, scientist and photographer Smith’s volume is a splendid and thorough look beneath the surface of the ocean. Expressing his “passion and wonder for coral reefs and the astounding variety of creatures that call them home,” Smith relates that, over the course of an extensive career in marine biology, he has “seen fish that wouldn’t even stretch across a dime and others that are longer than two London buses” and “spent hours scouring an algal-covered rock face to find an unnamed relative of the seahorse in New Zealand.” Early chapters deal with how reefs work, introducing elements such as coral colonies and plankton, and focusing on the so-called Coral Triangle, near eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. Smith’s countless photos of angelfish, butterfly fish, and the like help to illustrate the area’s extraordinary biodiversity. Later sections touch on climate change and “other anthropogenic disturbances” that have caused significant harm, including widespread coral bleaching linked directly to rising sea temperatures and witnessed by the author himself during scuba expeditions. In this impressive work, Smith effectively showcases much of what the marine world has to offer, while also reminding audiences how important it is to preserve and protect that world. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/10/2019
Release date: 03/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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