Bloomsbury Natural History
This photographic extravaganza applauds the wealth and variety of splendour "where the sea embraces the land". From the far north of Scotland to the southern extent of these isles, the shoreline ecosystems and their habitats are discussed in chapters entitled Sand, Shingle, Estuary, Wetland, Rock, Cliffs and Headlands, Urban Coasts, Islands and Open Sea.
The introduction presents a number of statistics, including that Britain has more than a thousand islands and that there are 20,000km of coastline. However, this debatable figure is discussed in further detail in a frame separate from the main text. This style of elaboration is used throughout the book where more detail may be of specific interest, but is not necessarily appropriate to the main text.
Each chapter looks at the type of coastal interface and how it is formed, the species that are native to the various habitats, concluding with a section on places to visit to see examples of the features described.
The author is an illustrator, photographer and editor, which is reflected in the impressive photography and descriptive text, but there are aspects of the biological content that suggest this is not a reliable source: a number of scientific names are misspelt, for example. These weaknesses may be somewhat irritating to the more rigorous biologist and sadly deflect from a book with high visual impact.
Jean Wilson MBE CBiol FRSB