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Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef

Biology, Environment and Management

Edited by:
Pat Hutchings   Australian Museum
Mike Kingsford   James Cook University
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg   University of Queensland

Colour illustrations
392 pages
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

This book is no longer available in print.

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The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is 344 400 square kilometres in size and is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. This comprehensive guide describes the organisms and ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the biological, chemical and physical processes that influence them. Contemporary pressing issues such as climate change, coral bleaching, coral disease and the challenges of coral reef fisheries are also discussed.

In addition,the book includes a field guide that will help people to identify the common animals and plants on the reef, then to delve into the book to learn more about the roles the biota play.

Beautifully illustrated and with contributions from 33 international experts, The Great Barrier Reef is a must-read for the interested reef tourist, student, researcher and environmental manager. While it has an Australian focus, it can equally be used as a baseline text for most Indo-Pacific coral reefs.

Winner of a Whitley Certificate of Commendation for 2009.


  • Exciting and contemporary account of the issues that face the world’s most complex marine ecosystem
  • Examines the diversity, physiology, ecology and conservation of coral reefs in one volume
  • Australian focus
  • Written by leading authorities on the biodiversity of the GBR as well as its position as an icon for monitoring global warming
  • Beautifully illustrated

 Preface by Hon. Virginia Chadwick AO
An Introduction to the Great Barrier Reef
Section 1 – Nature of the Reef
Geomorphology of Coral Reefs, with Special Reference to the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Time and Space: Geology and Palaeobiology
Reefal Environments, Habitats, and Assemblages
Seabed environments, Habitats and Biological Assemblages
Primary Production, Nutrient Recycling and Energy Flow through Coral Reef Ecosystems
Calcification, Erosion and the Establishment of the Framework of Coral Reefs
Section 2 – Factors Affecting the Great Barrier Reef
Impacts on Coral Reefs
Climate Change and Coral Reefs
Terrestrial runoff to the Great Barrier Reef and the Implications for its Long-term Ecological Status
Planning and Managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Section 3 – Taxonomic Overview of Reef Organisms
Mangroves and Seagrasses
Pelagic Cnidaria and Ctenophora
Hexacorals 1: Sea Anemones and Anemone-like Animas
Hexacorals 2: Reef-building or Hard Corals
Arthropoda: Crustaceans and Pycnogonids
The Tunicata
The Fish Assemblages of the Great Barrier Reef: their Diversity and Origin
Marine Mammals

 "Overall, the book undoubtedly meets an important need. It draws together a wide range of relevant and contemporary information about coral reefs – and the GBR in particular – into a single, concise volume that is selling at a very reasonable price. It is a unique product that is likely to stimulate interested people to further research."
Dr Arthur White, Australian Zoologist, Vol 35 No 1, 2009

"This latest offering takes the intent of the earlier ACRS-supported publication and lifts it to a new level of detail, relevance and accessibility…there are few bits of coral rubble left unturned in this comprehensive overview of the Reef. Pat Hutchings, Mike Kinsford and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg have brought together a whos-who of GBR natural scientists to produce an impressive, authoritative and comprehensive overview of the GBR."
Paul Marshall, Australian Marine Sciences Association Bulletin, 2009

"Together, these chapters provide a thorough and authoritative overview of the coral reef environment and its processes. Importantly, the information appears to be up to the minute. Tackling such as a vast topic is a colossal undertaking and the editors and authors are to be commended for attempting it and producing such a credible result. It is a unique product that is likely to stimulate interested people to further research."
Anne Hoggett, Australian Zoologist, 2009

"Providing detailed information about the biological, chemical and physical processes of the Great Barrier Reef, this is an impressive reference book for teachers and students of Marine Studies. Each chapter uses straightforward language and is enriched with superb colour photographs, graphs, tables and classification keys."
I. Mavin, Scan Vol 28 No.3, August 2009

"I would recommend this book to those with a keen interest in and a desire to understand one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. It should certainly sit, well worn of course, on the bookshelf of every student of marine biology."
Melissa Cowlishaw, Wildlife Australia Magazine, 2009


 Pat A Hutchings is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum.

Michael Kingsford is currently the Head of School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture at James Cook University.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is the Director of the Centre for Marine Studies at Queensland University

Contributors: Shane Ahyong, Phil Alderslade, Christopher Alexander, Tara Anderson, Philip Bock, Jon Brodie, Maria Byrne, Howard Choat, Brad Congdon, Jon Day, Guillermo Diaz-Pulido, Peter Doherty, Sophie Dove, Norm Duke, Katharina Fabricius, Lisa-ann Gershwin, Dennis Gordon, Harold Heatwole, Kirsten Heimann, John Hooper, Terry Hughes, David Hopley, Russell Kelley, Patricia Mather, Anthony Larkum, Vimoksalehi Lukoschek, David McKinnon, Helene Marsh, John Pandolfi, Roland Pitcher, Barry Russell, Craig Syms, Carden Wallace, Richard Willan, Eric Wolanski.

Related Titles
 Fish Otoliths as Indicators in Ecosystem Based Management    The Marine World    Conservation Oceania Style: Highlighting Oceania’s Unique Approaches to Conservation    Big, Bold and Blue    Understanding Change in the Ecological Character of Internationally Important Wetlands    Double Helix Issue 08    Tenth International Temperate Reefs Symposium  


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