Not only is David Harasti a marine scientist, he is also a superb underwater photographer. Combine the two and you have a great recipe for a book. Dave has spent many hours co-producing this book and the results are fantastic. It is full of amazing images, information and a great aid to help local communities understand the ocean and its importance.
The ‘Marine Life of Bootless Bay - Papua New Guinea’ identification guide by Dr Mark Baine and Dave Harasti is the accumulation of 18 months work and several hundred hours spent underwater photographing and documenting the marine biodiversity of Bootless Bay, located just outside Port Moresby.
The 152page full colour book released in February 2008 contains approximately 900 images of over 850 species, accompanied by introductory information on all major marine taxa such as corals, echinoderms and fish.
The book is not just for scientists but is also a must for divers and photographers who regularly visit Loloata Island Resort, situated in Bootless Bay and world renowned for its scuba diving.
The diving throughout Bootless Bay is so diverse. Diving varies from coral reefs, shipwrecks and muck diving through the mangroves and seagrasses. One of the most fascinating sites in Bootless Bay is ‘Suzie’s Bommie’, famous worldwide for its incredible life that varies from giant hump-headed maori wrasse to the cryptic pygmy seahorses.
An example of the diversity of the guide is that is contains images of 335 fish species (including rare species such as the lacy scorpionfish Rhinopias aphanes and halimeda ghost pipefish Solenostomus halimeda), 145 mollusc species, 88 species of echinoderms (seastars, featherstars, urchins etc) and many other critters commonly found throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
To ensure accuracy within the guide, an expert taxonomic review process took place which involved approximately 45 world renowned experts in their fields. Gerry Allen and Rudie Kuiter (fish), Chantal Conand and Anne Hoggett (echinoderms), Jere Lipps (forams), Richard Willan (molluscs), Daphne Fautin (anemones) and Peter Davie (crustaceans), all prestigious individuals, took part in the review.
The principal focus of the guide is to improve local knowledge of the importance of marine biodiversity and to instil in local communities and villages, a sense of wonder at the diversity of life present in their waters. To this end, approximately 3,000 copies are being distributed to community schools and village communities early 2008. This has been made possible with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Project AWARE, the Papua New Guinea Institute of Biodiversity, and the University of Papua New Guinea.
Copies of the book are available to interested parties who visit Bootless Bay. For further information visit the MIRC website or www.daveharasti.com.