New Zealand is experiencing a long hot summer with people flocking to the beaches found along the 14,000 kilometres of coastline, to cool off. Children love to potter in rock pools to discover the creatures of the ocean but how many of us can give them a name?
The Collins Field Guide to the New Zealand Seashore is designed to be taken to the beach ‘encouraging a closer look at the community living between the tides’.
‘The seashore, or intertidal zone, is the area of the shore covered by seawater at the high tide and exposed air at low tide.’
In the guide Sally Carson and Rod Morris have dedicated a page for each plant or animal with text and excellent photographs to capture the reader’s interest, and assist with the identification of species.
I found the section on seaweeds particularly interesting as I often bring seaweed home for the garden and it will be fun giving some of the plants a name. I remember my mother being very excited if she found Carrageenan seaweed on the beach, gathering it up to take home to make the milk pudding as discussed in the book.
The guide also includes a section on coastal plants which have extended their distribution into the intertidal zone, adapting to cope with the salty environment. These play an important role in stabilising the sand and mud, helping to slow down the erosion of the coastline which is under constant barrage from the weather and the waves.
Rodd Morris is a former zoo-keeper and conservation officer, documentary –maker, author and award winning photographer who has contributed to thirty books over the course of his career.
Sally Carson is the Director for the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre at the University of Otago and an expert in identification guides for the plants and animals found on New Zealand’s seashore.
They have included some pages at the end of the guide on the changing ocean and coastal concerns with climate change, as well as a comprehensive list of books, articles and websites for those who want further information.
This is a great resource for families who enjoy wandering around the coastline, as well being a great tool for teachers when they take their class to visit the rocky shore.
Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh
Collins Field Guide to the New Zealand Seashore
by Sally Carson & Rod Morris
Published by HarperCollins NZ