At the start of the book a female has crashed landed on the planet where she was sent to find out what happen to the settlers.

She gets a symbiote from someone already there. She visits a few of the other races there; like a submarine one that communicates via lights, which her symbiote shortly copies.

At the end of the book another human shoots her in the face and ejects her out the airlock on a spaceship.

  • Roughly how long ago did you read this? This century? Nearest decade at least would be helpful. – Joe L. Oct 18 '15 at 13:48

You are probably speaking of the Wess'Har Wars by Karen Traviss:

An original six-part series about first contact, where an Earth expedition searching for a lost colony finds humans aren't near the top of the food chain, and a disgraced copper and an alien war criminal strike up an unlikely alliance.

City Of Pearl

  • The protagonist is Superintendant Shan Frankland, just about ready to retire from the European Environmental Hazard Enforcement, the agency charged in that (not too distant) time with trying to enforce laws to protect the environment against all comers, and getting whittled down and suppressed doing.
  • The "lost" colony is a group of religious "back-to-earth" guys which fled the mounting destruction of the planet to (hopefully) better climes, taking one of the last (and by the time of the book the last) seed-banks preserving at least a part of the natural flora and fauna.
  • The underwater-dwellers are called the Bezeri, and they were nearly killed by pollution the Isenj caused when colonizing their world.
    No fears, the humans will later do their best to help them over the edge.
  • The symbiont is called C'naataat, it can (and does) adjust the host-body for just about any environment (like hard vacuum or below the sea) quite fast, making it virtually unkillable (and also immortal).
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