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Ecology of Australian Temperate Reefs

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Ecology of Australian Temperate Reefs

The Unique South

Edited by:
Scoresby Shepherd   SARDI Aquatic Sciences
Graham Edgar   University of Tasmania

Line Art, Photographs
520 pages, 260 x 200 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Hardback - 2013
ISBN: 9781486300099 - AU $130.00

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Ecology of Australian Temperate Reefs presents the current state of knowledge of the ecology of important elements of southern Australian sub-tidal reef flora and fauna, and the underlying ecological principles.

Preliminary chapters describe the geological origin, oceanography and biogeography of southern Australia, including the transitional temperate regions toward the Abrolhos Islands in the west and to Sydney in the east. The book then explains the origin and evolution of the flora and fauna at geological time scales as Australia separated from Antarctica; the oceanography of the region, including principal currents, and interactions with on-shelf waters; and the ecology of particular species or species groups at different trophic levels, starting with algae, then the ecological principles on which communities are organised. Finally, conservation and management issues are discussed.

Ecology of Australian Temperate Reefs is well illustrated with line drawings, figures and colour photographs showing the many species covered, and will be a much valued reference for biologists, undergraduates, and those interested and concerned with reef life and its natural history.

2014 Whitley Award Commendation for Marine Ecology.


  • Describes the current state of knowledge of the ecology of southern Australian sub-tidal reef flora and fauna and the underlying ecological principles
  • Includes accounts of geological origin, biogeography and the oceanography of the region, including principal currents, and interactions with on-shelf waters
  • Presents the ecology of species and species groups at different trophic levels, for both better-known and obscure groups
  • Well illustrated with line drawings, figures and colour plates to illustrate the many species discussed
  • Will be a valuable reference for anyone interested in the ecology and health of coastal waters

Reviewers and others who assisted in various ways
Colour plates
Part 1 – The Southern Ocean from its Beginnings till now
Chapter 1. Geological History and Climate Change in Southern Australia
Chapter 2. Oceanography and Marine Climate of Southern Australia
Chapter 3. Biogeography and Biodiversity
Part 2. The Algae
Chapter 4. The Kelps
Chapter 5. Large Brown Algae: The Fucoids
Chapter 6. Ecology of Non-Geniculate Coralline Algae
Chapter 7. Middle and Lower Stratum Algae
Part 3. The Marine Invertebrates
Chapter 8. Ecology of Meiofauna and Macrofauna
Chapter 9. The Molluscan Megafauna: Herbivores, Carnivores and Filter-Feeders
Chapter 10. Cephalopods
Chapter 11. Echinoderms
Chapter 12. Effects of Sea Urchins on Benthic Habitats
Chapter 13. Sessile Fauna: Sponges, Ascidians, and Bryozoans
Chapter 14. Cnidarians (Hydroids, Anemones, and Corals) and Ctenophores
Chapter 15. Larger Crustaceans and Sea Spiders
Part 4. The Marine Vertebrates and Mammals
Chapter 16. Bottom-Feeding Fishes
Chapter 17. Planktivores and Large Reef-Associated Carnivores
Chapter 18: Marine Mammals
Part 5. Marine Ecosystems and their Conservation
Chapter 19. Food Webs
Chapter 20. Conservation and Management

  • University students
  • Researchers, managers, ecologists and those interested in the natural history of sub-tidal reef systems of the southern half of Australia (Sydney to Perth)
  • People involved in reef monitoring and those concerned/interested in the ecology and health of coastal waters
  • Those engaged in research, in other temperate regions of the world

 "... an excellent read for any biologist about to holiday on the Australian coast"
Ian Lancaster, The Bulletin, British Ecological Society, June 2014

"This book is an absolute must for those interested in the ecology of temperate reefs in Australia."
Prof. Gary Kendrick, Australian Marine Sciences Association, April 2014, pp. 38-39

"Valuable for readers interested in comparative marine ecological studies."
L. T. Spencer, Choice, October 2014, vol. 52, no. 02, p.102

"Ecology of Australia’s Temperate Reefs is a superbly presented and well-written exposé of Australia’s temperate reef biota and their life histories and links to the physical and historical ocean, an inspiring text for undergraduate and more advanced researchers."
David J Booth, Frontiers of Biogeography, 2014, 6, 3, pp. 157-158

This wonderfully written book explores and justifies the global significance of the Unique South and in my opinion is a compulsory read for any temperate marine ecologist.
Dan Smale, Marine Biology Research, 2015 Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 109-110


 Scoresby A Shepherd AO has worked for 40 years in fisheries and ecology. He has published 128 papers or chapters in books, and is the author or editor of numerous books such as Natural History of Gulf St Vincent, Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia, Abalone of the World and Biology of Seagrasses. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006, and was awarded both the Australian Marine Sciences Association Jubilee Medal and the Royal Society of South Australia Sir Joseph Verco Medal.

Graham J Edgar is a pre-eminent authority on reef ecology, with over 100 papers on benthic algae, invertebrates, seagrasses, Marine Protected Areas and human impacts on marine environment. He is the author of two books, Australian Marine Life and Australian Marine Habitats, both receiving Whitley awards for best general zoology book. He has received the Mia Tegner Award and Queens fellowship in Marine Science, and has held many international appointments, including Director Marine Research, Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos Is (2000–02).

Contributors: Joyce Richardson (Brachiopods), Jan Watson (Hydrozoans), the late Dr Patricia Kott (Ascidians); Craig Sanderson (Giant Kelp), Sabine Daume (Encrusting Coralline Algae), Craig Proctor (Blue-ringed Octopus), Darren James (succession in shallow reef habitats), Adrienne Grant (Zoanthids and Stony Corals), Carolina Zagal (Stauromedusae), DA Staples (Pycnogonids), Brian Saunders (Zebra Fish), Simon Bryars (ambush predators).


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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