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The Underwater Forest

Oliver is fascinated by the ocean, and every year his mother, who is a marine scientist, takes him scuba diving on his birthday to see the underwater forest. The underwater forest of kelp is a magical place, with colourful sea creatures big and small. But as the weather starts to change, the underwater forest can’t get the nutrients it needs to grow. Lots of sea urchins move out of their crevices and start to eat the underwater forest. Oliver is shocked to see on his next birthday that thousands of hungry urchins have eaten all the kelp. The only way to help the underwater forest is to reduce the number of urchins, but there are too many for marine scientists to collect. When people start fishing the urchins to sell for food, the number of urchins is quickly reduced. Oliver is surprised that people can eat the spiny urchins! With fewer urchins, Oliver’s mother can then restore the underwater forest. This educational picture book, based on real-life research, will aid children learning about the environment and what they can do to help. As all the profits from this book will go to the Native Australian Animals Trust Marine Fund at The University of Melbourne to support marine research, readers will be physically and actively supporting research too.
Rebecca Morris is a marine scientist at the National Centre for Coasts and Climate, The University of Melbourne. Working on a diversity of coastal habitats that include kelp forests, shellfish reefs and mangroves, Rebecca’s research focuses on how to restore these habitats where they have been lost. In particular, Rebecca is interested in characterising the services these restored habitats can provide, such as protecting the coast from erosion and flooding. As part of her research, Rebecca loves to show people how wonderful our marine habitats are. This usually involves giving public lectures or getting people to the coast to experience the projects. The Underwater Forest is Rebecca’s first picture book, designed to capture the youngest future marine scientists. Matt Howorth is a freelance British illustrator living in the north of England, specialising in character design for animation and children’s illustration. He graduated in 2015 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. He has worked on multiple animation projects, including movies and cartoon TV shows. He first fell in love with drawing after watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ at his grandma’s house. He spent much of his childhood covering the living room floor in crayon drawings of mermaids and sea creatures. Matt’s work has a focus on colour and shape, he likes to create designs that inspire a feeling of innocence and childhood playfulness. He isn’t precious about his linework, and usually likes imperfections in his drawing as it adds a hand-drawn quality to his digital pieces. Along with drawing and creating, he likes marine biology, period dramas, and petting the neighbourhood cats. You can see his artwork on his website and @matthoworth on Instagram.
* The Underwater Forest is an educational picture book based on real-life marine science research in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Through the eyes of 11 year old Oliver, children will learn about the environment, nature and the food chain; specifically sea urchins, what causes loss of kelp forests, and how they can be restored. * All profits from this book will go to the Native Australian Animals Trust Marine Fund at The University of Melbourne to support marine research. * Bold and energetic illustrations by Matt Howorth will draw the readers' attention.

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