Oceanographic Processes of Coral Reefs: Physical and Biological Links in the Great Barrier Reef edited by Eric Wolanski


  • Pamela Hallock


The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) of Australia is arguably the most important coral reef system in the world. Chapter 1 provides a brief political history, noting that the GBR was inscripted on the World Heritage List in 1981. More importantly, Australia, with an area nearly as great as the continental United States, but a smaller population than the state of Texas, has wisely committed substantial resources to study and protect this national treasure. The driving force behind the establishment of James Cook University in the 1960's and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the 1970's was recognition of the need for reef research. As a result, at a time when many of the world's reefs are critically threatened, the GBR is the most comprehensively studied and best protected, and the most likely to continue as a functioning coral reef system well into the 21st century.