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Life On The Rocks

Building a Future for Coral Reefs

Juli Berwald



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Riverhead Books
22 April 2022
The story of the urgent fight to save coral reefs, and why it matters to us all
Coral reefs are a microcosm of our planet- extraordinarily diverse, deeply interconnected, and full of wonders. When they're thriving, these fairy gardens hidden beneath the ocean's surface burst with color and life. They sustain bountiful ecosystems and protect vulnerable coasts. Corals themselves are evolutionary marvels that build elaborate limestone formations from their collective skeletons, broker symbiotic relationships with algae, and manufacture their own fluorescent sunblock. But corals across the planet are in the middle of an unprecedented die-off, beset by warming oceans, pollution, damage by humans, and a devastating pandemic.

Juli Berwald fell in love with coral reefs as a marine biology student, entranced by their beauty and complexity. Alarmed by their peril, she traveled the world to discover how to prevent their loss. She met scientists and activists operating in emergency mode, doing everything they can think of to prevent coral reefs from disappearing forever. She was so amazed by the ingenuity of these last-ditch efforts that she joined in rescue missions, unexpected partnerships, and risky experiments, and helped rebuild reefs with rebar and zip ties.

Life on the Rocks is an inspiring, lucid, meditative ode to the reefs and the undaunted scientists working to save them against almost impossible odds. As she also attempts to help her daughter in her struggle with mental illness, Berwald explores what it means to keep fighting a battle whose outcome is uncertain. She contemplates the inevitable grief of climate change and the beauty of small victories.
Imprint:   Riverhead Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 161mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   577g
ISBN:   9780593087305
ISBN 10:   0593087305
Pages:   352
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Juli Berwald received her PhD in Ocean Science from the University of Southern California. The author of Spineless and a science textbook writer and editor, she has written for a number of publications including The New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate.

Reviews for Life On The Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs

Praise for Life on the Rocks: An energetic investigation of the plight of coral reefs...with sharply drawn profiles and lucid renderings of ocean life. -Kirkus A courageous and passionate look at the exquisite symbiotic world of coral--and of the human spirit. In entwining deeply personal stories of love and loss and hope on the reefs and in her own family, Berwald offers insight that could not be more relevant to our lives. -Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Bird Way and The Genius of Birds Everyone who cares about the health of our planet should read these riveting, vivid, and information-packed pages. I recommend this book to ocean-loving humans everywhere. -Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus A personal and poetic dive into the watery wonders of coral. -James Nestor, author of Breath and Deep Part science, part memoir, Life on the Rocks is a compelling exploration of the decline of coral reefs and the solutions underway to save them-woven with a mother's search to cure her own child's illness. It is a saga of oceans and family, a story of grief and hope, and a call for bold action to save the seas and ourselves. Juli Berwald will have you rooting for her brave daughter and the tenacious corals of the world. -Cynthia Barnett, award-winning author of The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans Juli Berwald takes readers on a worldwide tour to meet some of the Earth's most fascinating animals, as beautiful as flowers and as vital to us as a mother to a child. A superb tour guide, Berwald is equally that a scientist, who sees the inner beauty of coral, as well as dire poverty for the world if that beauty is lost. Yet she is optimistic about gardens flourishing again and shows us how that can happen. -Jack E. Davis is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea and The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America's Bird

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