A practical, up-to-date, comprehensive guidebook for divers, naturalists and students, featuring more than 1000 color photographs of 800 species of ocean life.
From tide pools to coral reefs and the open ocean beyond lies a world abounding with an assortment of colorful fish and fascinating creatures. The lure of the life that inhabits the ocean's reefs and open water is no secret to scuba enthusiasts and snorkelers who enjoy the opportunity to gaze upon this wonderful world through their dive masks. Reef Life identifies the most-likely encountered underwater life in the tropical marine environment, featuring more than 800 beautiful color photographs that provide the keys to this magnificent world.
A gallery of more than 400 species offers readers an extensive identification guide to the most-likely encountered fishes and features each in detail: name, species, habitat, range and a description particular to the animal covered. With sections on invertebrates and algae, this guide reveals much about the range of animals and plants in the undersea ecosystem. Included is behavioral information on feeding, mimicry, and symbiosis, providing insights into natural survival strategies taking place among animals beneath the ocean surface.
The clear, concise descriptions of the myriad of animals in the tropical oceans are collected in this handy, portable and comprehensive reference for use in the field or at the desk. The surveys of the tropical ocean regions and sea life around the world include:
Brandon Cole is a biologist, wildlife photographer and photojournalist specializing in the marine environment worldwide. His photography has appeared in hundreds of magazines including GEO, National Geographic, Newsweek, Outside, Scientific American and Smithsonian. He lives in Spokane Valley, Washington.
Scott W. Michael is an internationally recognized writer, underwater photographer, and researcher who specializes in elasmobranchs (i.e., sharks, skates and rays) and coral reef fishes. He is the author of Reef Sharks and Rays of the World (1994). A scientific consultant for National Geographic Explorer and the Discovery Channel, he lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
This book presents selected work from a "life aquatic" career spanning twenty years. After earning a bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and working as an underwater researcher with the US National Park Service and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, I pursued a PhD for a month, then succumbed to the lure of underwater photography. I left the lab and now spend up to six months each year exploring one of the planet's last frontiers -- the world beneath the waves.
Since I had no formal training in the studio or the darkroom, the transition from scientist to artist was a clumsy one. I admit to making far more miserable pictures than memorable ones, breaking more than one camera, and, even after two decades, still being baffled by the complexity of the craft. It's the critters, large and small, that have kept me going through it all.
In recording the oceans' majesty I have traveled the globe, logging millions of air miles and more than 15,000 hours underwater. I count among my favorite scuba-diving locales the coral reefs of Indonesia, the "Enchanted Isles" of the Galapagos, and the current-swept chilly waters off British Columbia. Paradoxically I live in landlocked Spokane, Washington, with my wife, Melissa, an artist and frequent diving companion.
In the ocean I am continually experiencing new manifestations of the marvelous: the contagious thirst for life shown by a group of frolicking wild dolphins; a kelp forest wrapped in silence, yet noisy with color and motion; the mystery that enshrouds the open ocean or a coral reef under the cover of darkness. For me, Aristotle's "all things" include not only 40-ton breaching whales, schooling sharks and hang glider-sized manta rays; they also consist of the weird little fishes, the camouflaged beasties that hide in plain sight, and the spineless invertebrates -- diminutive shrimps and crabs, sea slugs and jellyfish, artfully arranged clusters of sea anemones, sponges and corals. These creatures and their unfathomable beauty are often overlooked, but they are no less deserving of appreciation and photographic preservation than the charismatic megafauna.
I consider myself most fortunate that my day job allows me to work underwater, witness to the reef's denizens as they go about their daily lives. Though the rush of encountering big animals is undeniable, I'm also happy to spend hours observing the smaller creatures, such as attitudinal 5-centimeter (2-inch) blennies -- frantically active fish whose bulging eyes rotate independently -- and the mimic octopus, a most engaging cephalopod -- a chameleon actor that tries to dupe me with one ingenious disguise after another. I'm sure my laughter at its antics can clearly be heard drifting on the current. Also heard, I hope, is my sincere wish that an appreciation and respect for the wildlife and habitat be foremost in the minds of those who visit the great ocean and those who live along its shores. It's all about enjoying nature -- but not at her expense.
--Brandon Cole, July 2012
Chapter 1: Tropical Marine Ecosystems
The Coral Reef
Chapter 2: Coral Reef Communities
Tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean
Chapter 3: Ray-Finned Fishes
Chapter 4: Elasmobranchs
Sharks and Rays Species Identification
Chapter 5: Invertebrates
Sponges Sea Anemones Stony Corals Soft Corals Sea Jellies Comb Jellies Polyclad Flatworms and Acoels Polychaete Worms Marine Snails Sea Slugs Bivalves Cephalopods Crustaceans Echinoderms: Sea Stars, Sea Urchins and Sea Cucumbers Tunicates
Chapter 6: Marine Reptiles
Sea Snakes Sea Turtles Marine Iguana Species Identification
Chapter 7: Marine Mammals
Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins Pinnipeds: Seals and Sea Lions Sirenians: Manatees and Dugongs Species Identification
Chapter 8: The Open Ocean
Chapter 9: Conservation of Tropical Marine Ecosystems
Land-Based Pollution Overexploitation
References Index Photo Credits / Author Bios