THE BLUE REEF: A Report from Beneath the Sea by

THE BLUE REEF: A Report from Beneath the Sea

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Shark authority Walter Starck spent more than two months around Enewetak Atoll, armed with bang sticks, underwater cameras, and a small sub, and his informal report, edited by Alan Anderson, offers a clear, non-technical view of the marine biologist at work. Starck has academic aims but philosophically he's from the same school as sea-life collector Jack Rudloe (The Living Dock at Panacea): he prefers being in the water, observing firsthand, to lab work and inland theorizing. And so he encounters Carcharhinus menisorrah, the gray reef shark, an aggressive fish which gives behavioral signals just before attacking; he discovers--after weeks of benign mutual observation and one terrifying close call--that the shark tolerates divers but sees surface swimmers as injured fish. . . or fair game. Although concentrating on sharks, Starck also concerns himself with the reef's restored ecology--the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission test-bombed it for ten years--and the unsung tales of scientists at sea: wife Jo gets the bends, fish invariably outwit the most clever lures, equipment fails at critical times. The Starck family and crew also dine on fried Cheilinus (giant wrasse), watch fairy terns lay eggs in tree branch junctions, spot underwater mimics, and generally enjoy their South Pacific opportunity. A rewarding trip, and the full-color photos are all they should be.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1978
Publisher: Knopf