A life underwater.

A life underwater. Charlie Veron.

Ringwood: Penguin Books, 2017. Octavo, paperback, colour and black and white photographs.

Hailed by David Attenborough and proclaimed a second Charles Darwin, Charlie Veron has lived up to his namesake. Even as a toddler, he had a deep affinity with the natural world, and by school age he knew more about some sciences than his teachers did. This didn't prevent him failing in a system that smothered creativity, and it was only by chance that he went to university. And only by chance that he became a marine biologist, through his love of scuba diving. But once he found his specialty he revolutionised it. He generated a new concept of evolution that incorporates environmental change and a radical idea of what species are, matters which lie at the heart of conservation. He has identified more coral species than anyone in history, and in the process become known as the Godfather of Coral. Charlie has dived most of the world's coral reefs, revelling in a beauty that few others have seen. In this engaging memoir he explains what reefs say about our planet's past and future, and why it's critical they be protected. And also why it's critical that scholarly independence be safeguarded.
For it was the freedom he had as a young scientist, to be wayward, to take risks, a freedom barely imaginable in today's world of managed academia, that allowed his breakthroughs. Exhilaratingly eye-opening, provocative, funny and warm, A Life Underwater is an inspiration to the young and the young at heart.

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