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.
- Australian marine fishes in colour (1974) Reed, Sydney ISBN 0589071416
- The Australian beachcomber (1979) Collins ISBN 0002164248
- Fishes of Victoria (1981) Doubleday, Sydney ISBN 0868240397
- Australian sea fishes south of 30s (1980) Doubleday, Sydney ISBN 0868240184
- Australian sea fishes north of 30 S (1981) Doubleday, Sydney ISBN 0868240338
- Harmful fishes of Australia (1982) Doubleday, Sydney ISBN 0868240400
- Encyclopedia of marine animals (1991) Blandford, London ISBN 0713722894
- Australia's sharks & rays (1992) Weldon Publishing, Sydney ISBN 1863022627
- Marine life of the Maldives (2000) Atoll, Apollo Bay, Vic. ISBN 1876410361
- Fiji Islands: wildlife guide (2005) Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic, Springwood, Qld ISBN 9780947325466
- Nudibranchs encyclopedia (2008) Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic, Springwood, Qld ISBN 9780947325411
- the DIVE SITES of the GREAT BARRIER REEF and coral sea. comprehensive coverage of diving and snorkelling (1996) Neville Coleman. New Holland (Publishers)Ltd. London, Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore.
- "COLEMAN, Neville Albert". Awards and Culture Branch Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, The Australian Government. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Neville Coleman OAM Peacefully Passes Away -Underwater Photography Loses A Legend". Divephotoguide.com. 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-10-10.