Coral Reefs of Australia

Perspectives from Beyond the Water's Edge

November 2022
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    10th November 2022
  • ISBN 9781486315482
  • Language English
  • Pages 344 pp.
  • Size 8" x 10"
  • Images 217 color photos, 67 color illus, 19 b&w photos, 5 b&w illus

Australia’s coral reefs stretch far and wide, covering 50,000 square kilometers from the Indian Ocean in the West to the Pacific Ocean in the East. They have been viewed as a bedrock of coastal livelihoods, as uncharted and perilous nautical hazards, as valuable natural resources, and as unique, natural wonders with secrets waiting to be unlocked. Australia’s coral reefs have sustained a global interest as places to visit, and as objects of study, science, protection and conservation.

Coral Reefs of Australia examines our evolving relationship with coral reefs, and explores their mystery and the fast pace at which they are now changing. Corals are feeling the dramatic impacts of global climate change, having undergone several devastating mass coral bleaching events, dramatic species range shifts and gradual ocean acidification.

This comprehensive and engaging book brings together the diverse views of Indigenous Australians, coral reef scientists, managers and politicians to reveal how we interact with coral reefs, focusing on Indigenous culture, coastal livelihoods, exploration, discovery, scientific research and climate change. It will inform and inspire readers to learn more about these intriguing natural phenomena and how we can protect coral reefs for the future.


  • A unique interdisciplinary collection celebrating our evolving relationship with Australia’s coral reefs, for coastal livelihoods, scientific study, and environmental protection.
  • Brings together perspectives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, coral reef scientists, managers, and politicians.
  • Covers the full geographical scope of Australia’s reefs from the Indian Ocean’s Cocos (Keeling) atoll in the West to the Pacific Ocean’s Lord Howe Island in the East.
  • Illustrated throughout with diagrams, maps and photographs of coral reef environments and people interacting with them.
  • Details the development of coral reef science in Australia and how scientists have interacted with reef managers and policy makers to guide effective stewardship of reefs.
Cultural sensitivity
Readers are warned that there may be words, descriptions and terms used in this book that are culturally sensitive, and which might not normally be used in certain public or community contexts. While this information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided by the author in a historical context.
This publication may also contain quotations, terms and annotations that reflect the historical attitude of the original author or that of the period in which the item was written, and may be considered inappropriate today.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this publication may contain the names and images of people who have passed away.

Author affiliations
Cultural sensitivity warning
1: Australia’s coral reefs
2: Living with Australia’s coral reefs
3: The evolution of science on the Great Barrier Reef
4: Understanding the fundamentals of coral reefs
5: Managing Australia’s coral reefs
6: Scientists as advocates for Australia’s coral reefs
7: Conservation and protection of Australia’s coral reefs
8: A changing climate for Australian reefs
Epilogue: The eye of the beholder

Sarah M. Hamylton

Sarah M. Hamylton is President of the Australian Coral Reef Society. She is also an Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong, where she is Director of the Spatial Analysis Laboratories.

Pat Hutchings

Pat Hutchings is a Senior Fellow of the Australian Museum. She has worked on coral reefs since the early 1970s and has had a long involvement with the Australian Coral Reef Society. Pat was also an editor of The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, FAA is Professor of Marine Studies at the School of Biological Sciences and ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland, where he has studied the physiological ecology of corals, particularly relating to their response to climate change, for more than 30 years. Ove was also an editor of The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management.

Coral reefs, climate change, Great Barrier Reef, ocean warming