Author and marine life photographer Marc Shargel will take his audience on a visual voyage beneath Southern California's ocean when he visits the galleria at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at 7:30 p.m. March 15 to share images and stories from his many years diving off the south coast.
Shargel's latest book, "Wonders of the Sea Volume Two: Marine Jewels of Southern California's Coast and Islands," highlights iconic coastal areas such as La Jolla Cove, Point Dume and Farnsworth Banks, revealing "a dazzling undersea world that most area residents have never experienced," according to reviewers.
The book is a window into the kelp forests, rocky reefs and submarine canyons that teem with life just below Southern California's waves. The region's submerged seascapes and wildlife are every bit as spectacular as its bluffs and beaches, but far less familiar to the average person. Shargel said he is working to change that by documenting the splendor and the vulnerability of local marine life.
The book includes historic photos that show the astounding quantity of seafood harvested in decades and centuries past. "Wonders of the Sea" documents Southern California's fishing heyday, when anglers caught tuna by the truckload, and people still believed that the sea's bounty was limitless. The juxtaposition of current and archival images reveals a discouraging story of disappearing fish and shrinking marine life.
But Shargel believes timely conservation can restore California's lost abundance, rebuilding the marine habitats — and the resident animals and plants — profiled in the book.
The book's coastal, aerial and underwater photographs are complemented by first-person accounts from divers, educators, scientists, surfers and businesspeople. Extensive reference notes provide scientific background, and a companion Web site provides links to cited sources and information about conservation efforts under way to protect Southern California's ocean at
Tickets for the photo lecture are $5, free to aquarium members. Reservations can be made at
- For more information, call (858) 534-3474. Birch Aquarium is at 2300 Expedition Way in La Jolla.