Deep New Zealand: blue water, black abyss.

Deep New Zealand: blue water, black abyss. Peter Batson.

Christchurch: University of Canterbury Press, 2003. Quarto, colour photographs, softcover.

The deep sea is home to millions of species, most of them yet undiscovered. It hosts a level of biodiversity that rivals that of lush tropical rainforests. Mostly unexplored, the deep sea is perhaps the last true biological frontier.

Deep New Zealand is the first book to explore life in the many deep-ocean habitats that surround this island nation. Its scope is considerable, for the sea within New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone covers an area ten times the size of France, and most of it is deep ocean. This vast but little-known realm is home to some of the most fantastical creatures that have ever lived; bus-sized squids, elegant swimming sea cucumbers, and gargoyle-like fishes festooned with dagger-like teeth and glowing lights, to name just a few.

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