Great Coral Reefs
A coral reef - it's a natural wonder of unparalled majesty and beauty. This extraordinary ecosystem is home to thousands of species of fish, plants, and other creatures that are among the most colorful, varied, and interesting on earth. Perhaps the most fascinating member of the reef ecosystem is the coral itself. Did you know that corals are actually living animals called polyps? When you look at a coral reef, what you are seeing are the cement-like shells of thousands of these remarkable creaturess. Great Coral Reefs caputres all of the beauty and exitement of this breathtaking environment. Highlighted with stunning full-color photographs, the lively and informative text is an invaluable guide to coral formations throughout the world. Chapter One, "The Making of a Coral Reef," describes the history of coral reefs from their inception 500 million years ago (almost 300 million years before the dinosaur) to the present day. Also examined are the fascinating coral polyps themselves, including their reproduction, growth, and explains all of the most common, and many of the lesser-known, types of coral structures, from fringing and barrier reefs to atolls and coral knolls. Chapter Two of Great Coral Reefs, "Creatures of the Coral Reef," is a guide to the fish and other animal in-common and the most exciting creatures that live in the unusual physcial characteristics and behaviors - fascinating reading and valuable information that will help a visitor to any reef identify its inhabitants. Chapter Three, "The Secret Life of the Reef," takes you on a journey through a typical day on the reefs of the Caribbean Island, Bonaire, exploring the variety of life on this undisturbed fringing reef during the day - and throughout the night. This section also explores many of the fascinating adaptations that reef denizens throughout the world have developed to this specialized environment. Chapter Four takes you to the world's finest coral reefs. Discover the dramatic wreck-diving off the coast of Barbados, and the rare black coral located near the Cayman Islands. This volume is also an insider's guide to the pristine reefs known to only to experienced divers, as well as the unexplored dive sites that still remain. Learn about the best sites to visit on the Great Barrier Reef as well as the obscure island in the Caribbean that boasts both unspoiled reefs and magnificent humpback whales. Finally, Chapter Five describes current threats to the health of reefs worldwide, including advice on what every person can do to help preserve this ecosystem. Possessing Great Coral Reefs is like having your very own personal guide to the reefs of the world. Whether you plan on experiencing some of these magnificent sites or want to explore their beauty from your armchair, this gorgeous volume is an invaluable source of information about this spectacular underwater world. -- from dust jacket.
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