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A Reef in Time
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Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Big Picture 2. The Great Barrier Reef: An Overview 3. Corals and Reefs: Controls and Processes 4. The State of the Great Barrier Reef 5. Mass Extinctions and Reef Gaps 6. Messages from Deep Time 7. The Cenozoic Roller-Coaster 8. Australia Adrift 9. The Ice Ages 10. The Last Glacial Cycle 11. Many Origins 12. Stone Age Utopia 13. An Enhanced Greenhouse World 14. Temperature and Mass Bleaching 15. Ocean Acidity and Coralline Osteoporosis 16. The Ocean's Canary Notes Glossary Acknowledgments Index

About the Author

J. E. N. Veron is former Chief Scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The recipient of the 2004 Darwin Medal of the International Society for Reef Studies, he is also the author of the three-volume Corals of the World.

Reviews

Veron (Corals of the World) once thought Australia's Great Barrier Reef would endure forever, but after witnessing the devastation inflicted on corals by elevated sea temperatures, he now knows this is false. In his impassioned book, the former chief scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science highlights reefs as indicators of climate change's effects on marine and other ecosystems. Time from a reef's perspective, rather than a human perspective, is one of the book's central themes. Past mass extinctions have occurred within the lengthy frames of geological time that allowed reefs to renew themselves. Today, as reefs succumb to mass bleaching (caused by high light and elevated temperatures) and ocean acidification, they are undergoing an extinction event in the significantly shorter frame of human planetary influence. Coral health affects all marine life. According to Veron's detailed analysis, corals will be incapable of relying on genetic adaptation to recover because the time frame for such evolutionary changes is too short. Complex scientific material serves Veron's straightforward message: climate change will soon reach the point of no return-possibly within a decade-and cause disaster for not only corals but many, if not all, marine food webs. Color illus. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Veron once thought Australia's Great Barrier Reef would endure forever, but after witnessing the devastation inflicted on corals by elevated sea temperatures, he now knows this is false. In his impassioned book, the former chief scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science highlights reefs as indicators of climate change's effects on marine and other ecosystems...Coral health affects all marine life. According to Veron's detailed analysis, corals will be incapable of relying on genetic adaptation to recover because the time frame for such evolutionary changes is too short. Complex scientific material serves Veron's straightforward message: climate change will soon reach the point of no return--possibly within a decade--and cause disaster for not only corals but many, if not all, marine food webs. Publishers Weekly 20071105 Decades of study of coral reefs inform J. E. N. Veron's big-picture account of the reef's past and future. It is an urgent, rigorous yet accessible tour de force of the geology, evolution, biology and chemistry of the reef presented through the prism of climate change...By looking at past "extinction events," like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, Veron offers an alarming glimpse into a similar future. -- Fiona Capp The Age 20080216 A historical, geological and biological study of the largest coral reef. The chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science uses the Great Barrier Reef as an alarming case study on the future of coral reefs. Although it is a hypothetical tale, it is a worrying look at how the Earth is in danger of suffering the worst case of mass extinction seen for 65 million years. Times Higher Education Supplement 20080228 Not a chronicle of the life of coral reefs, but an anticipation of their death. It is a work grounded in science, but which departed from the careful jargon of probability and possibility to become an impassioned, anguished eulogy delivered by a dear friend of the imminently deceased...[Veron's] book travels back through the fossil record to the remote past, reflecting on the five great extinction events that wiped out much of life on earth and finding a thread of commonality. -- Jo Chandler The Age 20080607 This is not a book for the fainthearted...Indeed, Veron believes we are on the brink of the sixth mass extinction of the planet. He makes his case in this book and paints a vivid picture of what we will be losing if we do not stop spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere...The book is easy to read with well-placed illustrations to explain complex concepts. It presents its argument in a logical and increasingly disturbing sequence that reaches a bleak end. It is a plea for urgent action written by a man who is passionate about the Great Barrier Reef. It should be read widely by anyone who cares about our planet. -- Louise Goggin Australian Marine Science Association Bulletin 20080401 Time is running out for the Great Barrier Reef, and no one knows it better than J. E. N. Veron...A Reef in Time is fascinating in that it puts climate change in context of the history of the earth, by concentrating on one element of it. It's bleak--but not as bleak as the outlook for the reef--and is backed up by extensive data and scientific research and analysis. It is the whole, and last, word on the Great Barrier Reef and climate change. -- Jodie Davis and Margaret Ambrose Habitat Australia 20080401 This impressive volume covers a large topic and does so very well. Though it is ostensibly centered on the Great Barrier Reef, the book treats the general nature of and environmental controls on coral reefs, and their history over geologic time since the Silurian Period...The book is highly readable and well produced. -- N. Caine Choice 20080801 [A Reef in Time] provides a compelling and highly readable account of the formation of the reef, as well as a description of its role as a functioning part of the ocean's ecosystem. Despite its grandeur and the appearance of permanence, the Great Barrier Reef has not always existed, nor is its future secure...Veron's account of the threats that face the Great Barrier Reef make bleak reading...Just as the Great Barrier Reef was built through countless millions of small actions by the organisms within it, so it is being threatened by the accumulation of small activities in each of our lives, events that are individually trivial but, added together, impose a huge burden on ecological communities. Veron asks why we should care. His book makes it impossible not to, and reinforces the growing call for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The bigger question--one that is left hanging--is how to bring this about. -- Anne Magurran Times Literary Supplement 20090306

Stretching 1200 miles along the east coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is renowned for the beauty of its diverse and colorful marine life. Formed by corals, this unique marine ecosystem is protected by the Australian government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. In spite of its marine-protected status, as discussed by David Lawrence and others in The Great Barrier Reef, the GBR is threatened by world climate change, increased carbon dioxide emissions, and ocean acidification. Veron (Corals of the World), a former chief scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and an award-winning authority on the biological, geological, and ecological aspects of coral reefs, predicts its gradual destruction in the next few decades and makes an impassioned plea for individuals and governments to take action to reduce energy consumption. Touching on the concepts of biology, geology, oceanography, paleontology, reef geology, and ocean chemistry, he precedes each chapter with an abstract and includes charts, diagrams, and color plates. An extensive bibliography and glossary are included. Suitable for academic and large public libraries.-Judith B. Barnett, Pell Marine Science Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Kingston Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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