A major book on New Zealand's coastal marine invertebrate is approaching completion at Canterbury University Press.
New Zealand Coastal Marine Invertebrates will bring together the work of more than 30 marine scientists from New Zealand universities and crown research institutes, as well as a number of offshore scientists in the US, UK, Japan and Australia.
The book has been a seven-year project for its editor, Auckland-based marine biologist Stephen Cook, who originally conceived the idea while working at the Leigh marine laboratory.
According to Canterbury University Press managing editor Mike Bradstock the book covers more than 1400 species including starfish, anemones and jellyfishes, sponges, corals, crustaceans, molluscs and marine worms living in coastal waters down to about 60 metres depth. More obscure marine invertebrate groups like marine leeches, echiurans, bryozoans, phoronids and entoprocts are also included.
Each of the 900-page hardback book's 20 chapters will begin with an introduction to the particular group of animals it covers, following with entries describing individual common or otherwise important species appearance, size, habitat, abundance, depth range, known distribution and taxonomy.
There will be more than 1500 colour photographs and 600 line drawings. The line drawings are being prepared by Auckland graphic artist Danielle Blackwood, and the photographs, mostly taken underwater, represent the best of the work of 85 expert underwater photographers, Mr Bradstock said.
Sponsorship of the book's production costs has been forthcoming from a number of organisations including the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, the Department of Conservation, the New Zealand Refining Company, Agfa and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
Scheduled for publication in early 1998, the book will retail at about $150.
Canterbury University Press