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Reviews

Books, Apps & Websites

Reach out and find out why reefs are so diverse, & so very important to us.

Selected Reviews



There are a huge number of reference books and apps available. The selection below are those that help me most in identifying what I photograph and in giving me background on the animals themselves, their habitats and conservation status,

Books & Guides



Coral Finder

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The Coral Finder is indispensable for anyone interested in identifying coral genera in the Indo-Pacific region....

The Coral Finder is indispensable for anyone interested in identifying coral genera in the Indo-Pacific region. It is very clearly laid and covers the variations of each coral genus, so irrespective of whether e.g. a Monstastrea an encrusting colony, a branched fingerlike colony or a colony of parallel vertical paper-thin plates is, you will be always be led to th genus Montastrea. Russell Kelley suggests a practical and simple workflow to help the user work, gives tips and tricks and covers the most important features for identification.

The Coral Finder is available from the Byoguides website and you can pick up 2 hours of free video training at the Coralhub website

Nudi & Sea Slug Indo-Pacific

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This book is a must have if you are interested in nudibranchs and sea slugs....

This book is a must have if you are interested in nudibranchs and sea slugs. 185 new species have been added since the first edition came out. It illustrates 2,138 Indo-Pacific nudibranchs and sea slugs, including many undescribed species. The introduction is comprehesive covering biology, evolution, behaviour and conservation.
The excellent photographs, generic and species descriptions give you a good chance of making a correct identification. The book covers not only nudibranchs, but also the head-shield and sap-sucking slugs, sea hares and side-gilled slugs.
If you like small brighly coloured slugs, the account of Siphopteron will be of great interest. As an example of how good the coverage of this book is, there are even images of "mini-Hams" on page 34.

Nudibranch & Sea Slug Identification - Indo-Pacific 2nd Ed.
Authors: Gosliner, T. M., Valdes, A. & Behrens, D. W.
ISBN 978-1-878348-67-8
Pub. New World Publications Inc.

Sea Mammals

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Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 4: Sea Mammals
For those of you who have a deep interest in marine mammals this is...

Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 4: Sea Mammals
For those of you who have a deep interest in marine mammals this is, in my opinion, the book for you. The photographic coverage is excellent and at times spectacular, highlighting the behaviour of the animals portrayed.
The only species not covered are the polar bear and two species of marine otters. There are detailed family overviews. These overviews are often go into the details of genetics, morphology an molecular biology, which, if you are not familiar with the research areas, can be daunting. The species accounts follow the families.

Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 4: Sea Mammals Authors: Wilson, D. E.; Mittermeier, R. A.; François, T. L. ISBN: 9788496553934 Pub. Lynx Edicions

Reef Creature Identification- Tropical Pacific

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This is yet another indispensable guide for the interested diver....

This is yet another indispensable guide for the interested diver. It is the only guide at the time of writing that gives accurate identifications for shrimps, crabs, starfish, worms, octopus and much else. It's 500 pages cover 1600 species with some 2000 photogaphs. Not only a good guide to identification, it makes interesting reading.

Reef Creature Identification - Tropical Pacific
Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach
Pub. New World Publications
ISBN 978-1-878348-44-9

Octopus Squid & Cuttlefish: A visual scientific guide

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This guide gives a good overview of everything around octopus and squid.

This guide gives a good overview of everything around octopus and squid. It covers anatomy, evolution, lifestyles, behaviour, the impact of humans and a number of species profiles. It makes an interesting read, but is not an identification guide.

Octopus Squid & Cuttlefish: A visual scientific guide
By R. Hanlon, M. Vecchione and L. Allcock
Pub. Ivy Press, 2018
ISBN 978-1-78240-570-2

The Invisibility Cloak

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This excellent eBook is the go-to place to read about the natural history and identification of the ovulid cowries and octocorals of Melanesia and Australia.

This excellent eBook is the go-to place to read about the natural history and identification of the ovulid cowries and octocorals of Melanesia and Australia. The authors, Rogan Draper & Sue Churchill have a wealth of field experiance and it shows in their practical approach to the fascinating and complex lives of these animal. The biology, external appearance, shell, natural history, reproduction is covered as is an account of octocorals and black coral. The final part of the book is dedicated to identification and extensive species accounts. The text is well written, easy to understand and richly illustrated with good photos.

The Invisibility Cloak is on Apple Books

At the Heart of the Coral Triangle

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A well written account of reef biodiversity illustrated with rich imagery.....

Although not an identification book, "At the Heart of the Coral Triangle" contains a wealth of information on many aspects of reef life. Written in a way that is very easy to understand, scientifically accurate and entertaining to read, it incorporates a wealth of excellent photographs. The images are essential to understanding the wealth and complexity of reef life in a way that is not possible to convey with words alone.

I personally recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding reef biodiversity. 10% of the profits go to Conservation International which is and added bonus.

Chapter 1: Seascapes, Chapter 2: Fish portraits, Chapter 3: Invertebrates, Chapter 4: Predation, Chapter 5: Reproduction, Chapter 6: Behaviour, Chapter 7: Symbiosis, Chapter 8: Reptiles, Chapter 9. Conservation

At the Heart of the Coral Triangle
Alan J Powderham, Sancia van der Meij
Pub. CRC Press
ISBN: 9780367428167

The book is available from:

  • NHBS which is a good supplier of a wide range of books on identification and natural history in Europe and globally
  • bücher.de in PDF format
  • CRC Press

Jewels in the Night Sea

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A photographic masterpiece of tropical night plankton.....

Although in Japanese, this book should be on the shelves of anyone interested in amazing diversity of tropical marine plankton at night. Modern apps make light work of OCR of Japanese text and translation to English.

Ryo Minemizu is a master of underwater photography. Floating in darkness and mid-water, Ryo has captured many exceedingly small, often quickly moving subjects with technical and artistic perfection.

Jewels in the Night Sea
Ryō Minemizuj
Pub. Nikkei National Geographic Company
ISBN: 978-4-86313-430-0

The book is available from:

NHBS which is a good supplier of a wide range of books on identification and natural history in Europe and globally

Nudibranch Behaviour

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This is for anyone interested in learning more about nudibranchs....

Dave Behrens is a world authority on nudibranch behaviour. This book contains a wealth of information on all aspect of nudibranch life: classification; senses & respiration; locomotion and movement; feeding; reproduction; defenses; colours, camouflage & mimicry; relationships; sea slugs & mankind. It'S a great book that helps divers understand the lives of these colourful reef citizens.

Nudibranch Behaviour
David W Behrens with photographs from Constantinos Petrinos, Carine Schrurs
Pub. New World Publications
ISBN: ISBN: 9781878348418

The book is available from:

NHBS which is a good supplier of a wide range of books on identification and natural history in Europe and globally

Apps for Tablets & Smartphones



Nudibranchs of the Central Indo-Pacific

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Gary Cobb's Nudibrach ID apps have been created by an Australian research group for each world area...

Gary Cobb's Nudibrach ID apps have been created by an Australian research group for each world area. Designed for smartphones (though does work on tablets), the apps are frequently updated and a great help to identification when travelling.
Species are listed alphabetically by genus then specied name. You can browse through the thumbnails by scrolling down, or open up one species account and swipe to the next species to review the details. The Indo Pacific app currently covers over 800 species. The most recent naming conventions are used, in line with the research of Terrence Gosliner et al.

The app is not intended as a detailed data source, but presents the information needed for visual identification.

The search is good and intuative, allowing you to enter a combination of search criteria, and then presenting you with a list of matching nudibranchs.

In conclusion, the apps are very useful, not just while travelling, but also at home when trying to identify what you have photographed

There are versions for both iOS and Android devices. Check out
Garys' website for more details.

Whale Guide

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The WhaleGuide is an information packed multimedia app with easily read text, maps, photos and videos.

The WhaleGuide is an information packed multimedia app with easily read text, maps, photos and videos. For just a few Euros extra, you get add in even more images and videos. Very well worth it in my opinion. The app very well designed intuitive.

The information is accurate, being based on the most recent research on whales, but is written so well, that even school children can read the articles with ease.

For each species there are tabs for a Distribution map, Key Facts including relevant videos, and quick identification.

There are also very good discussions on the topic shown in the screen panel below.

A lot of thought went into the identification guide. It's very easy to use.

Visit Ralf Kiefner's website to learn more.

Reef Fish of the East Indies

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Gerry Allen & Mark Erdmann's Reef Fishes of the East Indies is an absolute must have for everyone...

Gerry Allen & Mark Erdmann's Reef Fishes of the East Indies is an absolute must have for everyone passionate about reef fish is South-East Asia. There over 2700 species are covered and illustrated with over 4000 photos.

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There are 3 apps in total, all of which inter-link so you can move easily from one app to the other. Volume 3 can be downloaded for free, and the proceeds of the first two go to marine conservation in Indonesia, so don't hesitate to download the apps. These apps have everything the actual books have (they are out of print).
A user can:
- search on the common name
- search on the scientific name
- or simply browse through everything
You can mark favourites, write your own general notes, and make drawings. Tap on the Text menu item and you can read through the introduction and articles on zoogeography, biology and conservation.

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Selecting one family will bring up thumbnail images of all the species.

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You can either scroll through the thumbnails or simply open up one species account and swipe through them. The advantage with that is that you see any colour variants of the species, as shown below with the Banded Shrimp Goby.
Whenever you see the "wave hamburger" in the bottom right, tap on it and the description will be shown. If the symbol is not there, just tap the image and it will appear.

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The species accounts contain the scientific details, habitat notes, distribution, and you can add your own notes and drawings to a species.

Diversity in the region is so great, that you may see a rare colour variation, a hybrid or even a new species that is not in the app.

Volume 3 is available from the
App Store

Shark Project

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The SharkProject app is packed with information about all the known shark species. It has

The SharkProject app is packed with information about all the known shark species. It has species accounts, an identification guide and articles.

The species are listed with thumbnail images, and you can either scroll through them or search. Unfortunately the species order is completely random.

All aspects of each species is described in detail and is accomplanied by one or more photographs. The translation into English is often poor and has not been proofread by a native English speaker.

There is a helpful identification tool where you can add basic details and it will return a list of matching species.

A series of articles on various aspects of sharks complete the app. They contain many interesting facts. Some of the links are however broken, and the articles not updated.

There are separate versions for tablets and smartphones. An add-on pack gives additional imagery, but unfortunately without any video material.

The app is well-worth getting as there is a lot of information packed into it, and the profits go to
SHARKPROJECT to learn more.

Web Sites



Birdshead Seacape: Everything about West Papua

The Blenny Watcher: Anna & Ned DeLoachs' excellent blog site

Corals of the World: The source of truth about hard corals

Crab Database: one of the best crab ID sources

Fiddler Crabs: Michael Rosenbergs site for fiddler crab details

Frogfish: Teresa Zubi's excellent site for everything to do with frogfish

Poppe Images: images of marine life in the Philippines

The Echinoblog: Starfish, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers etc.

Allen Coral Atlas

The Slug Site: Michael Millers well-maintained site of nudibranch information

Poppe Images: images of marine life in the Philippines

Help Save Reefs!



The organisations that work to protect coral reefs and our oceans need as much support as they can get. Check out:

If you are a diver, and especially if you are an underwater photographer, donate. If you do nothing, there will be nothing to dive on and nothing to photograph.

These are suggestions, but not endorsements of the suggested organisations. It is your responsibility to review and check the charities you wish to donate to.