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The Essential Guide to Rockpooling
Julie Hatcher and Steve Trewhella
Wild Nature Press Ltd., £16.99

This is the companion to the excellent ‘Guide to Beachcombing’ (by the same authors) and concentrates, predictably, on the living forms of many organisms that are often only known from their remains, washed up on the strandline.

Extending beyond the strict confines of pools and on to the open shore and shallow sublittoral, most of the species that the shore wanderer would expect to encounter are described and illustrated (including some common fish, birds and mammals). Although many of the photographs are rather small, their quality is generally good enough for a reasonable attempt at identification to be made. Each description is also detailed enough, with colour forms in and out of water together with habitat preferences, that a non-specialist will soon gain confidence over a wide range of groups. Where helpful, there is also basic life-history information, and key points of anatomy are clearly explained.

The target group for guides such as this are families and curious naturalists, out to enjoy a day by the sea, rather than professional marine biologists. As such, it succeeds admirably and along the way suggests some interesting family activities, giving sensible advice about safety, collecting habits, and even some basic ecology.

This is precisely the sort of start that will produce future marine biologists and is to be recommended.

Dr Ian Lancaster MRSB