The Marine World: A Natural History of Ocean Life by Frances Dipper

archive – ReviewsThe Marine World: A Natural History of Ocean Life by Frances Dipper

A whole world between covers

MANY DIVERS ARE FASCINATED by ocean life, and some want to know more about how the marine world “works”. Whether you are interested in the natural history of the habitats and species that you see or whether you want to know what really matters from the point of view of conservation, this is the book for you.
The Marine World is written by marine biologist Dr Frances Dipper and illustrated by artist Marc Dando, and it has a wow-factor that I seldom get when opening a new publication.
It is authoritative and well-presented, with easy-to-read text, beautiful images from all over the world and superb line and coloured illustrations.
Don’t worry about it being too scientific: the style is an easy and fascinating read with interesting facts scattered throughout.
It starts with a description of the physical and chemical character of the oceans and progresses through an account of major divisions of the marine ecosystem, then onwards to descriptions of the major groups of plants and animals.
Each of the topics and of a wide variety of species is illustrated by superb photographs and drawings.
Subjects such as climate change, human impact and ocean acidification are addressed at various places in the text.
Two-thirds of the book is devoted to descriptions of the species that characterise different groups of organisms, with a fascinating chapter on “Interrelationships”.
The sections on uses, threats, status and management help us to better understand what needs to be done to protect our marine world but in a factual and positive way, not with rhetoric and exaggeration.
The conservation theme is pursued further in a chapter on Marine Protected Areas that will help the reader to understand the different types that have been established, with examples from each.
Finally, the volume describes the recording schemes in which divers can get involved, and some of the major organisations that are important in protecting or governing our seas.
I’m a close-to-ancient marine biologist but I learned a great deal that I didn’t know by reading this book.
If you have any interest in marine life or know someone who might like to have this volume as a present, I suggest you go ahead and buy it!
Keith Hiscock

Wild Nature Press
ISBN: 9780957394629
Hardback, 544pp £45

Appeared in DIVER July 2016


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