||Steve N. G. Howell, Brian L. Sullivan
||Princeton University Press
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The identification guide presented to your attention uses composite plates of photographs in order to help the reader identify offshore marine wildlife, i.e. things you see at sea, be they sharks, whales, dolphins, birds, sea lions, or jellyfish. Short accounts distill the essence of identification—wildlife views at sea can be brief, and the less time you spend reading a book the better. Once you have a name, numerous other resources are available to help you learn more about the creatures that inhabit the oceans. But that all-important handle, a species name, is the first step in the cascade of knowledge. We focus on species seen on day trips off the West Coast, not those found farther offshore in waters few people get to visit. Some of these species can be seen from shore but they also occur offshore and are usually considered marine creatures. We don't include coastal birds such as most gulls, terns, cormorants, sea ducks, loons, grebes, or even some 'marine' mammals; even though you may see these from boats they can all be watched more easily from land. We also don't include real rarities, species you might never see even on 100 trips, such as a sea snake...