Customer Reviews of Reef: A Safari through the Coral World
An excellent appreciation of the Coral Reef.
As with other books by this man, there are photographs in this work to make even the most seasoned underwater photographer go "Wow!" Furthermore, not only does this particular author know his subject, he also has that rare ability to make any point - no matter how technical that point may be!, easy for the layman to understand.
"Reef - A Safari through the Coral World " is a hard back book in which the author describes every aspect of the Coral Reef. Commencing with a "Natural History of the Reef," we are skilfully taken on "A Journey through the Coral World during which time we will have sampled just about everything a coral reef has to offer. Add to this the author's own outstanding photography and some diagrams of the highest standard and we have - in this one book, as complete a picture of the Coral Reef as I have ever seen.
I particularly liked the way in which they have approached one of the Appendices at the end which is entitled "A Diver's Guide to Coral Reef Fish." No they have not tried to include a picture of every single species. Instead they have provided the reader with an outline of each family of fishes. In this way, any diver who has seen some species with which he is not familiar will be able to look up the general outline of that fish - thus narrowing the search for formal identification.
Altogether another excellent book from Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch.
Making Sense of Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are among nature's most complex creations. Couple this with the inevitable disorientation (some call it euphoria) scuba divers encounter when underwater, and it is easy to undertsand why reefs are so hard to comprehend. This book helps bring the reef world into sharper focus. What I found especially useful is a system of extended, highly instructive captions. For example, on pages 112-3, cleaner fish are illustrated on the reef, and are compared and contrasted with false cleaners (mimic blennies). Or, on pages 140-1, the hunting methods of the trumpetfish are described and there is a nice photograph of a carribbean trumpetfish hovering near a tiger grouper.
"Reef" is about 200 pages long, with two main parts: The Natural History of the Reef and A Journey Through the Coral World. The author's writing can be descriptive and precise when required, or poetic, as in this passage from page 7:
"The coral reef is an outpost for the imagination and here nature is at her most baroque. The coral is her stucco, her palette is the iridescent splendour of the reef fish. But occasional glimpses of bulky shadows in the blue background are more ominous to the diver."
The concluding section of the book includes a diver's guide to coral reef fish and a bibliography.