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The Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs, Structure, Form and Process is a book that the scientific community has long been awaiting. Being the first encyclopedia of its kind, it is extremely useful for teaching, but also for specialists in the field of coral reefs when attempting to make sure that all expressions used in a manuscript are well-defined. The alphabetical order allows a fast and efficient detection of the various terms and it seems that nearly every term was treated by a specialist. What is most useful is that each definition is followed by a discussion and a conclusion in which the specialist provides recommendations on how to view the definition, warning occasionally about using related expressions. Nonetheless, in some cases old and now-revised expressions are used to define various terms. For example, although there is a clear definition of Cyanobacteria on page 1048, the expression ‘Blue green algae’ appears several times in this book. The illustrations of this encyclopedia – including photos, tables, graphs and schematic representations – distinguish this opus from most other encyclopedias: every earth science library should have this work, if possible, twice.

Having had the opportunity to comment on the Coral Reefs of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories, the encyclopedia of modern coral reefs was tested in vivo. I can confirm that the study of this volume 4 of Coral Reefs of the World was facilitated greatly by having a copy of Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs available.

Coral Reefs of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories gives a broad overview of the eight major UK overseas territories (of 14 overseas territories worldwide). Obviously, the most detailed information stems from Bermuda. This island has a research station, a museum and a wealthy community that is willing to sponsor research. In contrast, regions such as Pitcairn have received less scientific attention. In 22 chapters this book gives a beautiful overview of the state of the art and also emphasizes aspects of protection and management (Chapter 4, Virgin Islands, chapter 19, Chagos Archipelago), threats (Chapter 13, Bermuda reefs), the economic value of reefs (Chapter 15, Bermuda) and treats also the impact of contaminants, pollution and potential anthropogenic impact in Chagos (Chapter 21).

A beautiful book which I can recommend to teachers, interested students and libraries.