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Steve Jones

Coral : a pessimist in paradise

You may have come across coral in a piece of jewellery, or you may even have seen living coral while diving, but you probably wouldn't have thought of all of the links between coral and humans which Steve Jones describes in his new book Coral : a pessimist in paradise.

The book starts with Jones looking at a coral brooch which came down to him from his sea-captain grandfather. He goes on to describe how coral reefs are formed, showing how Darwin's ideas were eventually proved correct when reefs were used in nuclear tests Coral can reproduce asexually rather than grow old and die, so hopeful humans have harvested and sold them as rejuvinatives. They also live as symbionts, but recently there has been much 'bleaching' of coral where they split up with their symbiotic partner. There's a chapter on earthquakes and epidemics, and one on the links between corals and carbon in several forms including diamond and CO2. So you can see that theres plenty of opportunity for pessimism. Jones concludes the book with a chapter on the destruction of coral reefs, and its uncertain future.

In The Single Helix I felt that Jones chapters were too short. Here I felt that they are too long at 30 - 40 pages each without anything to break them up. If you like the sort of book which rambles from one thing to another, sometimes with only a tenuous link to the main subject, then this might suit you, but I wouldn't recommend it to readers who want to learn about corals. info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0316729418
Salesrank: 14641085
Published: 2007 Little Brown
Amazon price $23.68
Marketplace:New from $23.68:Used from $3.41
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Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0349118353
Salesrank: 7265696
Weight:1.11 lbs
Published: 2008 Abacus
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Paperback 288 pages  
ISBN: 0316729418
Salesrank: 4217278
Weight:0.79 lbs
Published: 2007 Little, Brown
Amazon price CDN$ 21.00
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 21.00:Used from CDN$ 1.74
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