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Our oceans, our future [reading list]

The eight of June is World Oceans Day. Celebrated globally, this day is a chance to appreciate the ocean and learn about conservation efforts that help protect it. This year’s theme is “Our Oceans, Our Future”. In the spirit of moving towards a healthier future for our marine environment, we’ve put together a reading list and a video of some of our favorite books about the ocean and marine conservation.

Understanding Social Conflict and Complexity in Marine Conservation” from Human-Wildlife Conflict: Complexity in the Marine Environment edited by Megan Draheim, Francine Madden, Julie-Beth McCarthy, and Chris Parsons

Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) has classically been defined as a situation where wildlife impacts humans negatively, and where humans likewise negatively impact wildlife. However, there is growing consensus that the conflict between people about wildlife is as important as the conflict between people and wildlife. HWC impacts the willingness of an individual, a community, and wider society to support conservation programs in general. This book explores the complexity inherent in these situations, covering the theory, principles, and practical applications of HWC work.

Green Equilibrium: The Vital Balance of Humans and Nature by Christopher Wills

Traveling to many different ecosystems, from coral reefs to the high Himalayas, and drawing on his own on-the-ground research, Wills illuminates ecological laws in action. Perhaps most important, he introduces us to people, in many countries around the world, who are now using this new knowledge to help heal the planet.

Managing complex systems to enhance sustainability” from Stressors in the Marine Environment: Physiological and ecological responses; societal implications edited by Martin Solan and Nia Whiteley

A multitude of direct and indirect human influences have significantly altered the environmental conditions, composition, and diversity of marine communities. Stressors in the Marine Environment summarizes the latest research in the physiological and ecological responses of marine species to a comprehensive range of marine stressors, while providing a perspective on future outcomes for some of the most pressing environmental issues facing society today.

Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Judith S. Weis

Marine pollution occurs today in varied forms–chemical, industrial, and agricultural–and the sources of pollution are endless. Though marine pollution has long been a topic of concern, it has very recently exploded in environmental, economic, and political debate circles; scientists and non-scientists alike continue to be shocked and dismayed at the sheer diversity of water pollutants and the many ways they can come to harm our environment and our bodies.

Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Ray Hilborn and With Ulrike Hilborn

Over the past 20 years, considerable public attention has been focused on the decline of marine fisheries, the sustainability of world fish production, and the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems. This book provides a balanced explanation of the broad issues associated with overfishing and guides readers through the scientific, political, economic, and ethical issues associated with harvesting fish from the ocean.

Ocean Acidification edited by Jean-Pierre Gattuso and Lina Hansson

The consequences of ocean acidification are raising concerns for the biological, ecological, and biogeochemical health of the world’s oceans, as well as for the potential societal implications. Ocean Acidification synthesizes the consequences of ocean acidification, with the hopes of informing future marine management policies and research agendas.

Marine Ecosystems and Global Change edited by Manuel Barange, John G. Field, Roger P. Harris, et al.

Global environmental change (including climate change, biodiversity loss, changes in hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, and intensive exploitation of natural resources) is having significant impacts on the world’s oceans. This handbook advances knowledge of the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, and their past, present, and future responses to physical and anthropogenic forcing.

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction by Philip V. Mladenov

The marine environment is the largest, most important, and yet most mysterious habitat on our planet. It contains more than 99% of the world’s living space, produces half of its oxygen, plays a critical role in regulating its climate, and supports a remarkably diverse and exquisitely adapted array of life forms. Biologist Philip Mladenov provides a comprehensive overview of marine biology, while looking at a number of factors that pose a significant threat to the marine environment.

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

This classic work remains as fresh today as when it first appeared in 1951. Today, with the oceans endangered by the dumping of medical waste and ecological disasters such as the Exxon oil spill in Alaska, this illuminating volume provides a timely reminder of both the fragility and the importance of the ocean and the life that abounds within it. Anyone who loves the sea, or who is concerned about our natural environment, will want to read this classic work.

Coral Reefs in the Modern World” from The Biology of Coral Reefs by Charles R.C. Sheppard, Simon K. Davy, and Graham M. Pilling

Coral reefs represent the most spectacular and diverse marine ecosystem on the planet as well as a critical source of income for millions of people. However, the combined effects of human activity have led to a rapid decline in the health of reefs worldwide, with many now facing complete destruction.

Coral Reefs: A Very Short Introduction by Charles Sheppard

In this VSI, Charles Sheppard provides an account of what coral reefs are, how they are formed, how they have evolved, and the biological lessons we can learn from them. Today, the vibrancy and diversity of these fascinating ecosystems are under threat from over exploitation and could face future extinction, unless our conservation efforts are stepped up in order to save them.

The Marine Environment of North-West Europe” from Handbook of the Marine Fauna of North-West Europe edited by Peter J. Hayward and John S. Ryland

This authoritative guide enables accurate identification of the common components of the inshore benthic invertebrates of the British Isles and adjacent European coasts, as well as a substantial proportion of fish species.

Featured image credit: Beach by Pexels. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

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