March 14, 2018 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Award winning authors, Professor George Branch and his wife Margo, enthralled over 100 guests at the launch of their revised edition of Living Shores.  Their first book was published in 1981 and has been a standard reference for marine scientists and enthusiasts, but as Margo explained, “since then three key things happened – computers, digital photography and satellites; and now we can even measure continental drift.” With all the newly revealed information and climate change impacts, the book has been reworked to incorporate the many dramatic changes that our oceans and coasts have undergone over the past few decades.

Emeritus Professor George Branch started his scientific career studying limpets leading to a ground breaking paper on how limpets tend to their own garden patch. From there his keenly developed eye then looked at the different interactions he witnessed on the rocky shores and beyond. He studied invasive mussels, watched how prawns played and investigated algae and our impacts of commercial harvesting.  This led to involvement with the development of a new fisheries policy and the development of Marine Protected Areas. He met Margo at University of Cape Town and together they became the authorities on the smaller marine world. Margo is an accomplished author and illustrator with many books behind her name on topics such as marine, fynbos and mushrooms. Her passion is to instil conservation ethics by showing the wonder of the natural world.

Included in Living Shores is the different marine ecosystems and how humankind interacts with them; the evolution of the sea and continents; and the ecology of coastal systems, including intertidal zones, beaches, dunes, estuaries, islands, kelp forests and reefs. It also highlights what can be done to protect our environment.  With full-colour photography and explanatory illustrations, diagrams and graphs, this book will continue to be invaluable to students and teachers and anyone that loves the marine world.

From limpets, to waves, to sandy shores, George and Margo weaved the tale behind the book with images and stories at the launch held at the Great White House. The launch was kindly sponsored by Struik Nature, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in partnership with Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.


Margo Branch, Wilfred Chivell, George Branch, Susan Visagie