Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Review: coral books

And I've got a piece in the current London Review of Books on two recent books on coral: Steve Jones' Coral, and J. N. Veron's A reef in time, one of many, many books recently declared to be 'Silent Spring for climate change/coral/fisheries/etc.'

Here's the first par:
Tens of thousands of years ago, the arrival of people in the Americas, and in Australia and New Zealand, was followed by a wave of extinctions, particularly of the largest species, which made the most attractive game. More recently, rats, cats and goats have eaten their way through the native plants and animals of small and not so small islands; and California is home to four hundred introduced plant species, which have almost entirely displaced the native prairie. But in the next hundred years or so, we are likely to see something new, as human activities cause the disappearance of ecosystems on a global scale. Species living on mountain-tops are going to find their habitat disappearing, as warmer climates rise up to engulf them. And Steve Jones and J.E.N. Veron warn that climate change may well bring about the end of coral reefs – if overfishing, disease, invading species and pollution don’t get them first.

No comments: