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Go behind the scenes of an amazing environmental success story

'Underwater Eden' shows how the last coral wilderness on earth was saved

University of Chicago Press Journals


IMAGE: This is a healthy reef, replete with living corals and pink crustose coralline algae that promotes new coral settlement. view more

Credit: Randi Rotjan

"It was the first time I'd seen what the ocean may have looked like thousands of years ago." That's Gregory S. Stone talking about his initial dive among the corals and sea life surrounding the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific. Even as oceans around the world are suffering, in the waters off the Phoenix Islands the corals were healthy, the fish populations abundant--and Stone and his companion on the dive, David Obura, determined that they were going to keep it that way.

Underwater Eden is the beautifully illustrated story of how they succeeded, against great odds, in making that dream come true, with the establishment of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. It's a story of cutting-edge science, fierce commitment, and innovative partnerships rooted in a determination to find common ground among conservationists, business interests, and governments.


Gregory S. Stone is executive vice president and chief ocean scientist of Conservation International and senior vice president of exploration and conservation at the New England Aquarium. David Obura is founding director of the nonprofit research organization CORDIO and an adjunct senior scientist at the New England Aquarium.

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