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One Night in the Coral Sea

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In 1980, scientists discovered that hundreds of corals on the Great Barrier Reef participate in a mass spawning event. Science author Sneed B. Collard III explains coral reefs, the coral larvae's perilous journey through the sea to their home on the reef, and the animals that depend on this ecosystem for their survival. Intricate cut-paper illustrations capture the eye-catching colors of this underwater world.


Gr 3-6-Although Collard provides a basic introduction to other animals found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, he concentrates on its variety of corals. In particular, he describes the mass spawning that occurs every spring. On one night, more than 100 species release millions of eggs and trillions of sperm. By morning, those coral from the same species have united to form thousands of larvae that drift on the ocean. Those that escape predators and reach a reef attach themselves and undergo a metamorphosis into a coral polyp. Brickman created colorful three-dimensional illustrations by painting and sculpting paper, and these layered textures work well with the subject. For example, hungry fish trying to eat larvae can barely be seen through the multicolored masses of tiny creatures floating around and over them. Although limited information about mass spawning appears in some books for older readers such as Collard's Lizard Island (Watts, 2000), most titles for younger readers about coral reefs provide a basic, general introduction to the ecosystem. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's general overview in Colorful Captivating Coral Reefs (Walker, 2003) would work well with Collard's introduction to an amazing event that scientists discovered little more than 20 years ago.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"This stands out from the school of other reef tours on library shelves, both for its special focus and for its riveting illustrations."

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