The Gulf of California is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it is also important to earth and marine scientists who work far beyond the area. In text and an accompanying CD-ROM with stunning satellite images, this atlas captures the dynamics of natural cycles in the fertility of the Gulf of California that have been in near-continuous operation for more than five million years. The book is designed to answer key questions that link the health of coastal ecosystems with the regionÕs evolutionary history: What was the richness of ÒfossilÓ ecosystems in the Gulf of California? How has it changed over time? Which ecosystems are most amenable to conservation? With an emphasis on the intricate workings of the Gulf, a team of scientists led by Markes E. Johnson and Jorge Ledesma-V‡zquez explores how marine invertebrates such as corals and bivalves, as well as certain algae, contribute to the operation of a vast Òorganic engineÓ that acts as a significant carbon trap. The Atlas reveals that the role of these organisms in the ecology of the Gulf was greatly underestimated in the past. The organisms that live in these environments (or provide the sediments for beaches and dunes) are mass producers of calcium carbonate. Until now, no book has considered the centrality of calcium carbonate production as it functions today across multiple ecosystems and how it has evolved over time. An important work of scholarship that also evokes the regionÕs natural splendor, the Atlas will be of interest to a wide range of scientists, including geologists, paleontologists, marine biologists, ecologists, and conservation biologists.