What Is Natural?: Coral Reef Crisis
During the late 1960s and 1970s, massive herds of poisonous crown-of-thorns starfish suddenly began to infest coral reef communities around the world, leaving in their wake devastation comparable to a burnt-out rainforest. In What is Natural?, Jan Sapp both examines this ecological catastrophe and captures the intense debate among scientists about what caused the crisis, and how it should be handled.
The crown-of-thorns story takes readers on tropical expeditions around the world, and into both marine laboratories and government committees, where scientists rigorously search for answers to the many profound questions surrounding this event. Were these fierce starfish outbreaks the kind of manmade disaster heralded by such environmentalists as Rachel Carson in Silent Spring? Indeed, discussions of the cause of the starfish plagues have involved virtually every environmental issue of our time--over-fishing, pesticide use, atomic testing, rain forest depletion, and over-population--but many marine biologists maintain that the epidemic is a natural feature of coral-reef life, and ecological "balance of nature" that should not be tampered with until we know the scientific truth of the crisis. But should we search for the scientific truth before taking action? And what if an environmental emergency cannot wait for a rigorous scientific search for "the truth"?
The starfish plagues are arguably one of most mysterious ecological phenomena of this century. Through the window of this singular event, What is Natural lucidly illustrates the complexity of environmental issues while probing the most fundamental questions about the relationship between man and nature.
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What is natural?: coral reef crisisUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Sapp, a history of science professor at York University in Canada and author of other natural history books, including Evolution by Association (Oxford Univ., 1994), provides thought-provoking insight ... Read full review
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
A TREE FELL IN THE FOREST
KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION
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Acanthaster planci algae animals Anon anthropogenic areas argued atolls Australia balance of nature Barrier Reef biologists Biology Bradbury Caribbean cause Charles Birkeland Chesher coastal committee complex control programs controversy coral bleaching coral reefs coral-reef scientists crown-of-thorns starfish damage David Pawson destruction ecologists ecology ecosystem effects Endean environment environmental evidence fish fisheries funds GBRMPA giant triton global warming Goreau Green Island Grigg Guam Hawaii human activities hypothesis Ibid increased Indo-Pacific infestations Institute International Coral Reef issues Johannes Kenchington killed large numbers larvae living coral long-term Lucas Marine Biology marine laboratories Marine Science Newman nutrients observed occurred ocean Ogden organisms Pacific Islands Palau Panama Peter Glynn phenomenon pollution population explosions Potts predation problem Queensland government result Robert runoff scientific sea-level canal sediment shrimp stability starfish plagues starfish populations studies survey temperature Thorns Starfish threat tion tourist Townsville tropical marine University University of Guam