Scientists create Perth Fish book for schools

Amazing fish facts that help to explain the serious side of Western Australia’s marine environment and why it’s so important to protect it, as well as a species identification guide for young explorers are all in a new book available free to schools.

Written and compiled by fish ecologists Dr Dianne McLean and Research Assistant Michael Taylor and published by The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute, the book explains everything from the cultural significance of the ocean, to its diversity and abundance of marine life all interspersed with fun facts and beautiful images.

The researchers are providing free copies to schools in an effort to engage primary and secondary children in marine science by developing knowledge and promoting an appreciation of fish life off our coast.


Above: Coco Stacey (13), Alex (6) and Chloe McLean (8) put their Perth fish questions to Dr Dianne McLean and Mike Taylor


“I am hoping the book grows a love of the ocean in children and a desire to be in it and on it. That, like me, they like learning about all the different fish species and what makes each one unique,” Dianne said.

The species identificaton guide includes biological illustrations by Michael Taylor and Juliet Corley, as well as photographs and statistics on 106 different species.

“There is a lot of interesting information throughout the book, but the real star for me is the identification guide,” Michael said. “Photographers from around Australia donated some great images for it, and I hope that the children who come to look through it will start to recognise and learn about the fish that they see when they go out into the ocean.”

The researchers plan to visit schools in 2019 to get feedback and develop resources with teachers.

Schools can access hard copies of the book through the Western Australian Marine Science Institution by emailing

A PDF of the book is available for download here.


About the authors:

Dr Dianne McLean started with Australian Institute of Marine Science in WA as a fish ecologist in 2018 having previously been with UWA for more than 14 years. Dianne’s research focusses on the impact of oil and gas infrastructure on fish and fisheries.

Michael Taylor is a Research Assistant with the Fish Ecology Group the within the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute

Perth Fish book authors Mike Taylor and Dr Dianne McLean