The Coral Reef Era: From Discovery to Decline

A history of scientific investigation from 1600 to the Anthropocene Epoch

  • James Bowen

Part of the Humanity and the Sea book series (HUMSEA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. The Natural History Quest, 1600–1900

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. James Bowen
      Pages 3-9
    3. James Bowen
      Pages 21-31
    4. James Bowen
      Pages 33-41
    5. James Bowen
      Pages 55-66
    6. James Bowen
      Pages 77-87
  3. A New Era In Reef Science

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 181-195

About this book


On 4 June 1629, the Batavia, pride of the Dutch East India Company Fleet, was wrecked on her maiden voyage in a seemingly empty expanse of the Indian Ocean. The question “how did this happen?” led to 300 years of investigation by those curious to solve the enigma: what are corals, and how are coral reefs formed?


Relying heavily on primary source material Part 1 traces the sequential evolution of scientific thought and practice as the author explores the way this evolution is reflected in the search for understanding corals. At each stage, answers lead to fresh questions that challenge investigators to solve the riddle, and new branches of science emerge. Then, with the first enigma finally understood, a new enigma arose. Why are Reefs dying? Part 2 traces the range of problems that have emerged in the past 50 years as marine, ecological, reef and climate scientists attempt to put the pieces of the jigsaw together. Is there a new “canary in the coal mine” warning of the fate of the world as we know it if man’s impact on his environment continues unchecked?


Bioturbation Coral Polyp Coral Reef Ecosystems History of Science Warming Ocean Waters and Climate Change

Authors and affiliations

  • James Bowen
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Earth and Environmental Science
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-07478-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-07479-5
  • Series Print ISSN 2213-607X
  • Series Online ISSN 2213-6088
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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