World Atlas of Coral Reefs

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.11
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 91%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $6.11   
  • New (4) from $57.95   
  • Used (10) from $6.11   


Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, host to an extraordinary variety of marine plants and animals. They are also one of the world's most fragile and endangered ecosystems. The growth of mass tourism, combined with the boom in popularity of scuba diving, has brought these spectacular ecosystems to public attention across the planet.

Coral reefs provide essential fish habitat, support endangered and threatened species, and harbor protected marine mammals and turtles. They are a significant source of food, provide income and employment through tourism and marine recreation, and offer countless other benefits to humans, including supplying compounds for pharmaceuticals. Yet coral reefs around the world are rapidly being degraded by a number of human activities, such as overfishing, coastal development, and the introduction of sewage, fertilizer, and sediment.

World Atlas of Coral Reefs provides the first detailed and definitive account of the current state of our planet's coral reefs. With its wealth of authoritative and up-to-date information, the finest maps available, and detailed descriptive texts and images by leading experts, this full-color volume will be a critical resource for anyone interested in these vital environments.

World Atlas of Coral Reefs contains eighty-four full-page newly researched and drawn color maps, together with more than two hundred color photos illustrating reefs, reef animals, and images taken from space by NASA astronauts during the 2000 and 2001 space shuttle flights. The authors provide a wealth of information on the geography, biodiversity, and human uses of coral reefs, as well as details about the threats to their existence.

Prepared at the UNEP–World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, England—the United Nations office responsible for providing authoritative information on the condition of global biodiversity—the Atlas will be a critical tool for scientists, students, policymakers, and planners at local, national, and international levels alike.

Publication of the World Atlas of Coral Reefs is supported by international institutions including the United Nations Environment Programme; The Marine Aquarium Council, The International Coral Reef
Initiative; ICLARM—The World Fish Center; the Professional Association of Diving
Instructors, and the Aventis Foundation.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Best described as an 'atlas plus'-provides a comprehensive and detailed account of all the world's coral reefs. While this atlas will serve as a valuable reference for scientists, it is also accessible to lay readers and students interested in ecology, scuba diving, marine biology, geography, or just good photographs. A number of other books treat coral reefs, but none is as comprehensive and as current as this work.
Charleston Post & Courier
Filled with the latest research, color photographs, maps and charts, and NASA images from space, the atlas is the first such work to offer an unbiased, comprehensive report on the world's reefs, and it is a treasure for a hardcore diver.
Science Magazine
Offers the most accurate estimate ever of the world's total coral reef area.
Offers the most accurate estimate ever of the world's total coral reef area.
Times Literary Supplement
The authors have applied the best in contemporary marine science and cartography to a dauntingly difficult project, and the result is a credit to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The World Atlas of Coral Reefs is a good example of the value to environmental policymakers of combining the accurate description of a valued resource with a sound understanding of the natural and anthropogenic forces which may alter and, at times, threaten it.
Globe and Mail
There are gorgeous photos of fish with names like butter hamlet, and of course the panoply of corals hard and soft.
Library Journal
While coral reefs cover less than two percent of Earth's continental shelf area, they are the most biologically diverse marine habitats in the world. Prepared at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-World Conservation Monitoring Center, this reference best described as an "atlas plus" provides a comprehensive and detailed account of all the world's coral reefs. Each area of the world's reefs has its own chapter, with sections for each country; coverage includes location, description, maps, photographs, health assessment, and legal protection status. Also included are several excellent introductory chapters on the definition of coral reefs, biodiversity, ecological threats and responses, and reef mapping. An extensive bibliography is included with each chapter, along with information on the sources for the chapter maps. While this atlas will serve as a valuable reference for scientists (one of our biologists has already recommended it to our library), it is also accessible to lay readers and students interested in ecology, scuba diving, marine biology, geography, or just good photographs. A number of other books treat coral reefs (almost all of them listed in the chapter bibliographies), but none is as comprehensive and as current as this work. Highly recommended for all public, high school, and academic libraries. Margaret Rioux, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. Lib., MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Unique in scope, this atlas provides cleanly rendered maps, colorful photos, and lots of solid information. Part one is devoted to background material on such topics as coral-reef evolution, species diversity, environmental concerns, and even reef mapping techniques. Content is detailed enough to satisfy adults with a scientific background, yet remains accessible to high school students. The section on types of coral reefs is accompanied by excellent illustrations. Photos liberally sprinkled throughout range from super-macroscopic space views to the microscopic. The bulk of the book looks at each global region. Maps show reefs and the areas surrounding them. Included are natural features such as forests and human constructs such as dive centers, settlements, and protected underwater sites. Instead of making dramatic, emotion-laden speeches for preservation, the book defends the value of this wondrous ecosystem rationally, providing plenty of factual backup and pointing out cases where sensible and sustainable management is possible. This atlas covers all bases, making it a great resource for students and teachers alike.-Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
This authoritative, thorough reference, replete with numerous detailed maps, color illustrations, and tables of data, is published in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), whose mission is to provide scientifically rigorous products and services related to the environment. It begins with overview material about reefs—their importance, threats to their survival, and reef mapping—then proceeds country by country (within regions), identifying particular characteristics and the state of reef health in each area. The volume is slightly oversize: 8.5x12<">. The three authors (Mark D. Spalding, Corinna Ravilious, and Edmund P. Green) are all affiliated with UNEP- WCMC. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520232556
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/10/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 11.63 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark D. Spalding is Senior Programme Officer of UNEP-WCMC's Marine and Coastal Programme. Corinna Ravilious is a geographic information systems technical officer at UNEP-WCMC, and Edmund P. Green is head of UNEP-WCMC's Marine and Coastal Programme.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)