1st Edition

At the Heart of the Coral Triangle Celebrating Biodiversity

    252 Pages 205 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    "Endlessly fascinating, unpretentiously educational, thoughtfully accessible and beautifully presented" - Alex Tattersall, award-winning underwater photographer and the founder of Underwater Visions.

    The Coral Triangle, straddling the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, harbours the greatest biodiversity of marine life on the planet. It is home to a wondrous variety, including 75% of the world's coral species and around 2500 species of fish. The biological and environmental diversity is driven by the volcanically active and complex geology of the so called 'Ring of Fire'. Habitats range from underwater slopes of volcanic black sand to extensive coral reefs in atolls and vast calderas. While clearly vulnerable to increasing global threats such as climate change, pollution and overfishing, the Coral Triangle currently features some the richest coral reefs in the world.

    With stunning photography supported by an engaging and accessible text, this book highlights and celebrates this biodiversity along with the underlying message that it needs our care and protection before it is too late.

    Seascapes. Fish Portraits. Invertebrates. Predation. Reproduction. Behaviour. Symbiosis. Reptiles. Conservation



    Alan Powderham has been a scuba diver and underwater photographer for over 40 years having his first book, Venezuela Submarina, on the marine life of the southern Caribbean published in 1983. By profession he is an engineering consultant specialising in sustainable solutions and environmental engineering, promoting green and low carbon technology.

    Sancia van der Meij is a tropical marine biologist. She is an assistant professor at the University of Groningen, where she heads her own lab on diversification and symbiosis on coral reefs, and an honorary researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center. She has extensive field experience in the Coral Triangle (and beyond) since 2005.

    The focus of this book is on Southeast Asia’s reefs in the ‘Coral Triangle’. These are at the centre of global biodiversity, with more different species of corals, fish and invertebrate life than anywhere else in the world. We need to significantly raise awareness because reefs today face an existential threat... Because most people will not see, let alone study and understand coral reefs, we need books whose photographs and text convey their beauty, nature and extraordinary species. Reefs are the canaries in the coal mine in the sense that they are an ecosystem that is forewarning us about the global extinction of species and systems that began ever since we entered this uncharted Anthropocene epoch. The stunning photographs in this book showing images of some of the world’s richest and most intact coral reefs will help to raise awareness, and that is going to be key.

    -- Charles Sheppard OBE, Professor Emeritus (from the Foreword)


    Endlessly fascinating, unpretentiously educational, thoughtfully accessible and beautifully presented.

    -- Alex Tattersall, award-winning underwater photographer and the founder of Underwater Visions


    What I especially liked about the book was that because it celebrates the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, everything is described from a diver's viewpoint. It is full of behavioural observations that will stand divers, and especially underwater photographers, in good stead on future visits to Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, PNG, and the rest... Sometimes books by underwater photographers are plainly based around showing off their best images, and the narrative flow can feel a bit strained or distorted as a result. That doesn't feel like the case here. This is a generously illustrated book with thoughtful, informative writing by an observant diver/photographer teamed up with a highly experienced marine biologist.

    -- Steve Weinman in Diver Magazine, 2021


    Alan J Powderham’s passion is to observe fish – to hang out on a coral reef as unobtrusively as possible and watch the array of life going about its business around him. His stunning book, At The Heart Of The Coral Triangle, is the result of doing just that, in the richest, most vibrant reefs on the planet, for nearly 20 years... He hopes his book is just one small part of the effort to keep preserving the reefs across the Coral Triangle.

    -- extract from review in DIVE Magazine, Autumn 2021