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The Great Barrier Reef
History, Science, Heritage


  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521172790

£ 34.00

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About the Authors
  • One of the world's natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef stretches more than 2000 kilometres in a maze of coral reefs and islands along Australia's north-eastern coastline. Now unfolding the fascinating story behind its mystique this 2002 book provides for the first time a comprehensive cultural and ecological history of European impact, from early voyages of discovery to developments in Reef science and management. Incisive and a delight to read in its thorough account of the scientific, social and environmental consequences of European impact on the world's greatest coral reef system, this extraordinary book is sure to become a classic.

    • This was the first complete social and scientific history of one of the world's greatest natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef
    • A thorough account of the scientific consequences of European impact on the world's greatest coral reef system
    • Based on over a decade of intensive archival, field and underwater research
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… a work of dazzling accomplishment, meticulously researched and scientifically accurate … the Bowen's book is …a classic, which will doubtless be referred to as long as interest in the Reef persists'. The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: '… the book is full of facts and figures, the text is easy to read, the characters and issues come alive and it is altogether a fascinating account of an aspect of the Great Barrier Reef all too often forgotten. I recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in the evolution of scientific inquiry, the role of the Great Barrier Reef in our past and present, or in the development of the conservation movement in Australia.' Gee Chapman

    Review of the hardback: 'This book has delighted me. It is what the Great Barrier Reef has always needed; a comprehensive and scholarly history of European exploration and involvement with the Great Barrier Reef.' Frank Talbot, Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney

    Review of the hardback: 'This book is comprehensive, scholarly and highly readable, and will be a key reference for the history, science and culture of the Great Barrier Reef for a long time to come.' David Williams, New Scientist

    Review of the hardback: 'The book is clearly written and well organised … a very valuable synthesis for reef managers and scientists as well as for undergraduates studying the history of science and conservation. It would be a useful addition to a school library for teachers and a-level students.' Geography

    Review of the hardback: 'I enjoyed reading this book … it is a voyage of discovery that weaves coral reefs intricately into world history. Every few pages, through their detailed research. James and Margarita Bowen produce new insights into the role that coral reefs, particularly those of the Great Barrier Reef have played throughout history. This is not a dry historical study. It is interesting and enjoyable and has just won the New South Wales premier's prize for Australian history. It should appeal to science and history buffs, and is a well-documented source book for students of the environment and history, particularly in the management of a World Heritage Area.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    Review of the hardback: '… a truly excellent book … very reader friendly … It is a must to be read by all who are concerned in its welfare …'.

    Review of the hardback: '… an excellent, easy to read, all-embracing, and truly interdisciplinary account of the world's greatest reef system. They cover so much more than the biological and environmental aspects of the reef in the book … this is a fascinating story of the reef and its impacts on human attitudes … this is the first work to provide a fully comprehensive history of the 'European' impact over the time of the two centuries from Cook to the present. This remarkable book provides an interesting and detailed account of human involvement in, and influences upon, one of the world's greatest natural phenomena.' International Journal of Environmental Studies

    Review of the hardback: '… the first full history of the Reef … The Bowens give a lively history of the exploring and mapping of the Reef … scholarly, well-written …'. Australian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521172790
    • length: 492 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Navigators and Naturalists in the Age of Sail:
    1. Quest for the great south land
    2. Voyage of the 'Endeavour': Cook and the Labyrinth
    3. Endeavour naturalists: 'a separate creation'
    4. Matthew Flinders: voyage of The Investigator
    5. The reef explored: early surveys 1821–1844
    6. Reef charts completed 1846–1862
    7. The reef as a maritime highway: colony of Queensland 1859–1900
    8. From natural history to science, 1850–1900: voyages of the Challenger and Chevert
    9. Exploitation and resource raiding 1860–1890
    10. For maximum yield: reef biology
    Part II. A New Era in Reef Awareness from Scientific Investigation to Conservation and Heritage:
    11. Origin and structure of coral reefs: from Forster to Darwin
    12. Darwin's legacy: coral reef controversy 1863–1923
    13. Exploitation challenged rise of ecology: the subversive science
    14. Reef research and controversy 1920–1930
    15. The Low Isles expedition 1928–1929: Planning and preparation
    16. Biological research of the Low Isles expedition
    17. From depression to war: tourism, conservation and science 1929–1939
    18. The Pacific War and its aftermath
    19. A new problem: the conservation controversy 1958–1972
    20. Crisis resolution: formation of an environmental management authority
    21. A new era: research-based management
    22. The reef under pressure: problems of management
    23. The reef as heritage: a challenge for the future.

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    The Great Barrier Reef

    James Bowen, Margarita Bowen

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  • Authors

    James Bowen, Ecology Research Centre, Australia

    Margarita Bowen, Southern Cross University, Australia

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