Reef life An underwater memoir

Callum Roberts

Book - 2020

A memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, revealing the thrill of diving and the vital science and story of these majestic reefs.

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Subjects
Genres
Informational works
Published
New York, NY : Pegasus Books 2020.
Edition
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
366 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
ISBN
1643133292
9781643133294
Main Author
Callum Roberts (author)
Other Authors
Alex Mustard, 1975- (photographer)
  • Preface
  • Red Sea explorer
  • Voyage to the end of the world : Saudi Arabia, 1983
  • Looking back
  • Seaweed and lava
  • Country under construction
  • Reflections
  • Science diving for Muslim ladies
  • Moving a research centre
  • Sharm-el-Sheikh revisited
  • The aftermath of war : Arabia
  • The aftermath of war : Iran
  • Shifting currents
  • The long goodbye
  • Youth and beauty
  • D́éjà vu
  • Paradise on earth
  • Fin.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ocean scientist and author (The Ocean of Life, 2012) Roberts loves the reefs created by corals, remarkable marine invertebrates that conjure rock from water and create teeming oases, the richest of all marine ecosystems. Excited by reading Jacques Cousteau in his youth, the author learned to scuba dive and then, as an undergraduate, was invited to join a team mapping marine habitats along Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast. His first sight of a reef's colors and patterns felt like falling headlong in love. As he chronicles his diving and studying reefs all over the world, from Egypt to the Caribbean to the Great Barrier Reef, Roberts conveys the majesty of the underwater world, and the often rough conditions for setting up research stations on inhospitable shores. In enthusiastic prose he describes corals, the fish, and other animals that live amongst the coral colonies, and the dangers these fragile worlds face in an age of global climate change. Spectacular color and black-and-white photographs entice us into a world most of us will never see but will grow to care about. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Roberts (marine conservation, York Univ.; The Ocean of Life) shares stories from his 35-year career as an ocean scientist in this vibrant memoir and love letter to coral reefs. Roberts highlights the ecology, adventure, and politics of coral reefs while taking readers across the globe as a student in Saudi Arabia, to dives in the Caribbean, and speaking at the UN in New York. The book succeeds as both a memoir of a scientist's research career and passions and an accessible narrative of the science of coral reefs, making its appeal for a broad audience. Roberts also deftly addresses the decline of coral reefs, persisting threats, and complexities of conservation. Readers follow conservation efforts and bureaucratic challenges as they unfold over the author's career. Balancing a sense of urgency with hope and humor that will inspire action, the text is complemented by stunning photos from underwater photographer Mustard. Readers curious to learn about sea creatures and the coral reefs they inhabit may also enjoy Richard Smith's The World Beneath. VERDICT A vivid, lyrical science memoir for readers curious about coral reefs, and fans of environmental nonfiction.—Kate Bellody, State Univ. of New York, New Paltz Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Marine scientist Roberts (The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea) offers a vital account of his dives through the world's coral reefs. Roberts takes readers through almost four decades of his undersea explorations, beginning in 1982, when, as an undergraduate, he first dove amid reefs in the Red Sea. Throughout, Roberts shows a gift for vivid descriptions of the creatures he encounters ("the surgeonfish were pastel blue ovals with two dusky facial bars and puckered lips with which they kissed weed from the rocks"). In addition to showcasing memorable specimens of marine life, Roberts enables his audience to marvel at the miracle of natural engineering which coral reefs represent, as "they are visible from space, but to see clearly the animals that build them you need a magnifying glass." He ends in 2019, covering the devastation to major formations such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and hopefully raising the possibility that some reefs can adapt to global warming. Natural history buffs and conservationists will cherish this vivid aquatic odyssey. (Mar.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, in which he describes his lifelong love of diving, the science of coral reefs, and the importance of their preservation.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A hugely affecting memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, revealing the thrill of diving and the vital science and story of these majestic reefs.How did one of the world's preeminent marine conservation scientists fall in love with coral reefs? We first meet Callum as a young student who had never been abroad, spending a summer helping to map the unknown reefs of Saudi Arabia. From that moment, when Callum first cleared his goggles, he never looked back. He went on to survey Sharm al-Sheikh, and from there he would dive into the deep in the name of research all over the world, from Australia's imperiled Great Barrier Reef to the hardier reefs of the Caribbean.Reef Life is filled with astonishing stories of adventure and the natural world, which are by turns lyrical and laced with a wonderful wry humor. Callum illuminates the science of our oceans and reefs and his book, combined with the stunning photographs from Alex Mustard, will also commit readers to support Callum's goal to preserve 10 percent of the world's oceans.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A hugely affecting memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, revealing the thrill of diving and the vital science and story of these majestic reefs.How did one of the world's preeminent marine conservation scientists fall in love with coral reefs? We first meet Callum as a young student who had never been abroad, spending a summer helping to map the unknown reefs of Saudi Arabia. From that moment, when Callum first cleared his goggles, he never looked back. He went on to survey Sharm al-Sheikh, and from there he would dive into the deep in the name of research all over the world, from Australia's imperiled Great Barrier Reef to the hardier reefs of the Caribbean.Reef Life is filled with astonishing stories of adventure and the natural world, which are by turns lyrical and laced with a wonderful wry humor. Callum illuminates the science of our oceans and reefs and his book, combined with the stunning photographs from Alex Mustard, will also commit readers to support Callum's goal to preserve 10 percent of the world's oceans.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

How did one of the world’s preeminent marine conservation scientists fall in love with coral reefs? We first meet Callum as a young student who had never been abroad, spending a summer helping to map the unknown reefs of Saudi Arabia. From that moment, when Callum first cleared his goggles, he never looked back. He went on to survey Sharm al-Sheikh, and from there he would dive into the deep in the name of research all over the world, from Australia’s imperiled Great Barrier Reef to the hardier reefs of the Caribbean.Reef Life

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A hugely affecting memoir by the world's leading coral reef scientist, revealing the thrill of diving and the vital science and story of these majestic reefs.