Coleman started scuba diving in 1963, exploring Sydney Harbour. Later he joined a scientific study group and, in 1969, commenced a project aiming to document the entire marine life of Australia, using underwater photography.
His first book, Australian marine fishes in colour, was published in 1974 and he subsequently authored more than 50 books.
Coleman discovered many marine creatures new to science. Several species of fish, nudibranchs and other invertebrates have been named after him, including the mantis shrimp Lysiosquilla colemani, the nudibranch Chromodoris colemani, and the pygmy seahorse Hippocampus colemani.
In 2007 Coleman was inducted to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and, in 2011, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for "service to conservation and the environment through the photographic documentation of Australian marine species". Coleman died of natural causes at 4:55am on 4 May 2012, in his sleep.Click here to hide this biography