P A Hutchings M J Kingsford O Hoegh Guldberg

The Great Barrier Reef has been an important part of Australia's identity and has become an international icon. It is, therefore, not surprising that Australia has the oldest coral reef society in the world, namely the Australian Coral Reef Society founded in 1922. This Society began as a Great Barrier Reef Committee. This committee instigated the first major expedition on the GBR, 1927-1928, which was the beginnings of the quest to enhance our knowledge of, and hence better manage the Great Barrier Reef. Eighty years later, the society has again supported this effort and has sponsored this book. It is also significant that most of the contributing experts have been, or are, members. As a result, all proceeds from the sale of this book go to the ACRS for the promotion and support of further efforts to understand and manage coral reefs not only in Australia but worldwide, especially through postgraduate students. The details for how to join the ACRS can be found at its website available at http://www.australiancoralreefsociety. org/ [Verified 9 March 2008].

There are many people who have contributed to this book by providing text or images. The Australian Museum, James Cook University and the University of Queensland have supported the editors in undertaking the task of bringing the book to completion and support research programs on the GBR. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its sponsors have also provided invaluable financial support and assistance to the courses that inspired this book. Over 50 experts provided their time for free to compile a fascinating series of chapters—the editors are enormously grateful for their contributions. We also thank Kate Loynes and CSIRO Publishing for their attention to detail in the final stages. It is our hope that the book will be a useful starting point to any study of coral reefs both in Australia and abroad.

Coral reefs are one of the natural wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef illustrates the intricacy of nature and its interactions. Only by understanding these interactions, do we have a chance of meeting the challenges of the future, most of which are rising from the extraordinary growth in human populations along tropical and subtropical coastlines. Adding to this, we now have fundamental changes arising from global warming and ocean acidification. We hope we have demonstrated that knowledge of key biological and physical components as well as the processes that influence them are essential if we are to manage marine resources such as coral reefs and reverse the current decline of coral reefs around the world.

Shaun Ahyong gratefully acknowledges Glenn Ahyong (Sydney), Claudia Arango (Queensland Museum), Roy Caldwell (University of California, Berkeley), Roger Springthorpe and Ian Loch (both Australian Museum), N. Dean Pentcheff (Los Angeles), Chris Tudge (American University, Washington DC) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for the use of photographs.

Mike Kingsford would like to thank Craig Steinberg and lain Suthers for constructive comments on drafts of chapters and Richard Brickman for an original figure.

Maria Bryne gives thanks to many colleagues for permission to use their images. Thomas Prowse and Paulina Selvakumaraswamy assisted with the images.

Jon Day acknowledges that the RAP and the rezon-ing process resulted from the involvement and support of virtually the entire GBRMPA staff, as well as many external researchers, other experts, many thousands of local users, and the wider public, who were all concerned for the future of the GBR; their collective efforts therefore need to be acknowledged. Particular thanks also to Mick Bishop, Max Day, Kirstin Dobbs, Leanne Fernandes and Andrew Skeat for comments on drafts of his chapter for the book.

Guillermo Diaz-Pulido gives thanks to the Pew Program in Marine Conservation and to Laurence McCook for continuous support. Thanks also to Tyrone Ridgway for valuable comments.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg thanks artist Diana Kleine, as well as members of the Coral Reef Targeted Research Project (www.gefcoral.org).

John Hooper would like to thank Natural Products Discovery Griffith University, and the GBR Seabed Biodiversity Project consortium (CRC Reef, AIMS, QDPI, QM and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research) for their significant sponsorship of research on Porifera of the reefs and inter-reef regions, respectively, of the Great Barrier Reef. Without this funding we would still know very little about the tropical Australasian sponge faunas.

Terry Hughes acknowledges that his research was supported by the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence Program.

Pat Hutchings would like to thank Kathy Atkinson, Kate Attwood, David Bellwood, Karen Gowlett-Holmes, Jim Johnson, Brendan Kelaher, Tara Macdonald, Ashley Miskelly, Huy Nguyen, Greg Rouse, Roger Steene, Lyle Vail and Dave Wachenfeld for allowing her to use their superb photos, Tom Cribb for commenting on the section on platyhelminths, and Chris Glasby for commenting on the polychaetes. Mary Stafford-Smith provided information on coral genera distribution.

Dennis Gordon and Phillip Bock thank the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Contract C01X0502) for funding (Dennis Gordon), and Karen Gowlett-Holmes (CSIRO) for permission to reproduce a photo.

Helene Marsh gives thanks to Rebecca Fong for assistance with the illustrations that were based on line drawings by Geoff Kelly and a concept diagram developed with the assistance of the late Peter Arnold. Isabel Beasely, Alistair Birtles, Mike Noad, Guido Parra, Steve van Dyck and anonymous referees provided valuable comments on various drafts of her manuscript. Photographs were provided by Guido Parra.

John Pandolfi and Russell Kelley acknowledge their thanks to Robin Beaman for use of the two photos he supplied, to David Hopley for his thoughtful review, to Jody Webster for discussions, and to the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies for funding.

Roland Pitcher, Peter Doherty and Tara Anderson acknowledge that the Great Barrier Reef Seabed Biodiversity Project was a collaboration between the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (QDPI&F), and the Queensland Museum (QM); funded by the CRC Reef Research Centre (CRC-Reef), the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), and the National Oceans Office (NOO) of the Department of Environment and Water Resources. We also thank the multi-agency teams and the crews of the RV Lady Basten (AIMS) and FRV Gwendoline May (QDPI&F) that contributed to the success of the fieldwork; the research agencies AIMS, CSIRO, QM, QDPI&F for providing support to the project; and all the project's team members without whose valuable efforts the project would not have been possible.

Richard Willan acknowledges Gary Cobb (Mooloolaba), Julie Jones (GBRMPA, Townsville), Allan Limpus (Bundaberg), Julie Marshall (Melbourne) and David Wachenfeld (GBRMPA, Townsville) for the use of an image. John Collins (James Cook University, Townsville) is acknowledged for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the mollusc chapter. Paul Southgate (James Cook University, Townsville) provided information on aquaculture of giant clams, and Uwe Weinreich (Cairns) is thanked for the use of images and for information on feeding in Bursidae.

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