Science author has book in the pipeline on the Great Barrier Reef and its researchers

James Woodford exploring the GBR.
Image: Gary Cranitch.


Wednesday 25 February 2009
JAMES Woodford first began to understand the passion people have for the Great Barrier Reef on a trip in 2004.
On the AIMS research vessel the Cape Ferguson, James witnessed a scientist distraught over the damage done to his favourite reef.
"There'd been a massive coral bleaching event and he was devastated," he said.
It was then that he became interested in writing a book about the Great Barrier Reef, focusing on the people and researchers who spend their lives trying to understand it.
Researching that book has taken him to research stations on Heron Island and One Tree Island, and has brought him here, to Lizard Island, to take part in the CReefs expedition.
James said that incident in 2004 prompted him to look at "the real story of the health of the Great Barrier Reef".
He said the wider public perception of the reef was that it was in imminent danger of being wiped out, and he was determined to find out if that was the case.
While still in the research phase of the project, James said he's come to understand the problem is a lot more complicated than it appeared on the surface.
The book is due out in the middle of 2010, but before that James has lined up half a dozen more trips to locations around the Reef.
He admitted taking on a project that sent him to tropical locations for a good part of the year could incite a bit of jealousy among those chained to their office desks.
"It's pretty hard to convince people it's work," he said.
James has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald for 16 years, mostly in the science and environment sections. He has written five books and runs an environmental news website.