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THE EXTREME LIFE AT SEA

The Extreme Life of the Sea

Author(s)                 Stephen R. Palumbi, Anthony R. Palumbi
Publisher Princeton University Press
Date 2014
Pages 256
Format mobi, pdf, epub
Size 23.6 Mb

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   This book emerged, as many things do, from a gap in the teeth of the established order. The sea is our world's most fertile stage, populated by wonderfully colorful characters acting out their lives in a daily drama. But too often writing about the sea, or any natural habitat, follows this script: detail the native diversity, catalogue species to awe and amaze, and then toll the bell of doom as you explain the man-made calamities unfolding in these habitats. This is the gap in the established order. A gap in character development. And a gaping need for a simple sense of guiltless wonder about how wonderful the ocean's life actually is. Humans have done sufficient damage to every habitat that the bells can always be heard, but we seek to place emphasis elsewhere. How can an audience focus on a drama's denouement until they're invested in the players? Where they live? Who they live with? The conflict and beauty of their lives? Hence our focus on the characters in the oceans, the lives they lead, and the tactics they use to thrive. We have tried, in our chapters, to bring these characters to life by combining a novel's narrative flair with the scientific accuracy that these subjects demand. And we chose the sea's most extreme life to show what life is fully capable of. We apologize for inaccuracies that may still be present: despite a worldwide network of friends and colleagues, a survey comprising more than 200 topics will never be perfectly accurate while research is ongoing and new results are arriving. Throughout, we used the scientific literature as the foundation of fact on which our narrative is built—but good storytellers also try to show their subjects in living color, in dynamic movement, and in life and death. And for these elements we sometimes constructed scenes that are fully consistent with the data but may not yet have been witnessed...

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