Underwater Eden

The behind-the-scenes story of the creation of the PIPA is being told with the publication this month of Underwater Eden: Saving the Last Coral Wilderness on Earth by the University of Chicago Press and the New England Aquarium.

The book, edited by Dr. Greg S. Stone, Senior Vice President at the New England Aquarium and Executive Vice President and Chief Ocean Scientist at Conservation International, and Dr. David Obura, Adjunct Senior Scientist at New England Aquarium, tells the story of how they used cutting-edge science and developed innovative partnerships between conservationists, business interests, and governments to succeed in establishing the marine protected area.

“David and I want readers to see what we saw on our first dive in the Phoenix Islands – specifically that diving here is what it would have been like to dive in the ocean thousands of years ago,” Stone said. “We also want the story of PIPA to spread so it can inspire others to take charge as stewards of their own particular set of ocean.”

“What we see in the Phoenix Islands was hope,” Obura said. “While other parts of the ocean suffered the Phoenix Islands were supporting healthy corals and abundant fish populations and we are determined to keep it that way. It has been no easy task and the story isn’t over.”

In Underwater Eden, over 80 photographs by renowned underwater photographers, like Aquarium Explorer in Residence and an award-winning National Geographic Magazine photographer Brian Skerry, take readers underneath the surface of this central Pacific jewel and reveal the biodiversity that supports the food security, climate security, health and livelihoods of people.  

 Photo by Brian Skerry

All of the proceeds from the sale of Underwater Eden: Saving the Last Coral Wilderness on Earth will go to the PIPA Trust for the continued growth and maintenance of the protected area. Contributing authors include Curator of Fishes Steven L. Bailey, Associate Scientist Dr. Randi D. Rotjan, and Vice President of Conservation Heather Tausig.

 Photo by Brian Skerry

“From the air, the Phoenix Islands are tiny, low, remote, easily overlooked scraps of land in the Pacific Ocean. Underwater, they are the ocean’s equivalent of Amazon rainforests, teeming with tropical corals, fish, and sharks. But those species are under increasing assault from fishing boats, climate change, and introduced species. This remarkable book tells the story of ongoing imaginative efforts to create a huge protected area in a biological treasure-house.”
Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Underwater Eden tells the story of how a very small group of exceptionally passionate people can—and did—accomplish something truly spectacular. They worked for years to protect the last virgin chain of unexplored coral reef islands in the world. It’s a story of tremendous vision and dedication. And success.”
Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean

“If you have a passion for the oceans and care about conservation, read this remarkable book on innovative research, exploration and the preservation of a vast remote coral archipelago in the South Pacific.”
Harrison Ford, actor and vice chair of Conservation International

Click here to learn more, including how to order your copy.

About Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust
The Phoenix Islands Protected Area Conservation Trust (PIPA Trust) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) established under the laws of the Republic of Kiribati. Its primary objective is to provide long-term sustainable financing for the conservation of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in the Phoenix Islands group. This will allow Kiribati to create the PIPA for the benefit of future generations of Kiribati citizens and the world without producing negative impacts on current national expenditures for health, education, and social welfare. 

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