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Reefscape: Reflections on the Great Ba/Love, Rosaleen/Hardb/0309072603/S010-F
John Henry Press
Effortless action. Flowing in harmony with natural rhythms. Slip into warm tropical waters and let go. A drift dive along a steep drop-off sweeps the diver beside a wall of coral to one side, the deep blue nothingness to the other. Or is it? From out of the blue, a dark shape slides into view, then just as swiftly, slides back into the gloom. Other forms of life, some of them larger than me, and with bigger teeth, are also drifting along. Great beauty lies all around. Let it flow past.
Thus begins Rosaleen Love's lyrical, evocative portrait of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Told in a reflectively poetic voice, we are enticed to the water's edge, to gently sink beneath the surface of crystal waters, and to explore the secret realm of one of the world's natural wonders. Surrounded by beauty and drawn ever deeper by the lure of this marine paradise, Love guides us through the tranquil but mysterious terrain of a lush underwater world.
Looking beyond the sensual magnificence, Love also tells a scientist's story, examining the ecological, biological, and geological significance of the unique habitat that is the Great Barrier Reef. We accompany her into the field to study the relics of Earth's basic evolutionary processes to understand more about our natural world. We learn, too, about today's most pressing threats to the reef. Coral bleaching, a phenomenon whose root causes may be linked to global worming and the cyclical infestations of crown-of-thorn starfish, who slowly but voraciously consume coral gardens, destroying the habitat that is home to sea and bird life, are chief among them.
Love weaves the complex and fascinating economic and social history of the reef into her narrative. This approach provides a rich perspective on the region as both an ecosystem as well as a resource - telling a tale of commodities and industries, from fishing to mining. By recounting both stories, Reefscape provides a window on the reef's past while foreshadowing its future.