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Links the struggle to understand the nature of corals to the development of scientific understanding and the emergence of the “new sciences” from 1600 to the 20th century
The history acts as case study to understand why changes in scientific thought occurred and how they impacted on scientific challenges and understandings
Strong focus on the impact of these developments, especially in the fields of taxonomy, ecosystem analysis, oceanography, climate science, nuclear technologies
On 4 June 1629, the Batavia, pride of the Dutch East India Company Fleet, was wrecked on her maiden voyage in a seemingly empty expanse of the Indian Ocean. The question “how did this happen?” led to 300 years of investigation by those curious to solve the enigma: what are corals, and how are coral reefs formed?
Relying heavily on primary source material Part 1 traces the sequential evolution of scientific thought and practice as the author explores the way this evolution is reflected in the search for understanding corals. At each stage, answers lead to fresh questions that challenge investigators to solve the riddle, and new branches of science emerge. Then, with the first enigma finally understood, a new enigma arose. Why are Reefs dying? Part 2 traces the range of problems that have emerged in the past 50 years as marine, ecological, reef and climate scientists attempt to put the pieces of the jigsaw together. Is there a new “canary in the coal mine” warning of the fate of the world as we know it if man’s impact on his environment continues unchecked?
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Bioturbation - Coral Polyp - Coral Reef Ecosystems - History of Science - Warming Ocean Waters and Climate Change