At the Water's Edge will change the way you think about your place in the world. The awesome journey of life's transformation from the first microbes 4 billion years ago to Homo sapiens today is an epic that we are only now beginning to grasp. Magnificent and bizarre, it is the story of how we got here, what we left behind, and what we brought with us.
We all know about evolution, but it still seems absurd that our ancestors were fish. Darwin's idea of natural selection was the key to solving generation-to-generation evolution -- microevolution -- but it could only point us toward a complete explanation, still to come, of the engines of macroevolution, the transformation of body shapes across millions of years. Now, drawing on the latest fossil discoveries and breakthrough scientific analysis, Carl Zimmer reveals how macroevolution works. Escorting us along the trail of discovery up to the current dramatic research in paleontology, ecology, genetics, and embryology, Zimmer shows how scientists today are unveiling the secrets of life that biologists struggled with two centuries ago.
In this book, you will find a dazzling, brash literary talent and a rigorous scientific sensibility gracefully brought together. Carl Zimmer provides a comprehensive, lucid, and authoritative answer to the mystery of how nature actually made itself.
For every nature writer there seems to be one special place that tutors him or her in the ways of nature and the relationships of humans to the natural world, including the spiritual dimension. For Thoreau, it was a pond; for Henry Beaton, a barrier beach; for Annie Dillard, a creek. For Harry Thurston, it is the salt marsh, that part of the planet where land meets sea.Based upon childhood memory and his naturalist's journals, "A Place Between the Tides" is the story of Thurston's return to the beloved environment of his boyhood when he moves to the Old Marsh, a 1.5-hectare marsh on the banks of the Tidnish River in Nova Scotia. Elegantly moving back and forth in time, from the present year through the past decade and all the way back to childhood, the book describes the seasons in the life of the marsh as filtered through two decades of Thurston's living there. Blending acute analysis and a poet's lyricism, Thurston explores and examines one of the most productive and biologically diverse habitats on Earth, a habitat that has been degraded relentlessly since European settlement, making the few standing marshes precious because they are so vulnerable and vital.
The true story of a miraculous encounter between a teenaged girl and a baby whale off the coast of California
It was the dark of early morning; seventeen-year-old Lynne Cox was swimming her last half mile back to the pier after a long workout when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; whatever it was felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body. In fact, it was a baby gray whale. Lynne quickly realized that if she swam back to the pier, the young calf would follow her to shore and die from collapsed lungs. On the other hand, if Lynne didn't find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death. Something so enormous--the mother whale would be at least fifty feet long--suddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. This is the story--part mystery, part magical tale--of what happened.
One of the most fascinating and amazing underwater photography ever. The author summarizes "I was 20 meters from the calf and his mother. He nuzzled her and then to my surprise swam straight towards me. I didn't take my eyes off him through my lens and snapped continuously as he came closer and closer. I dared to look over the top of my camera and there he was, just a few feet away looking me straight in the eye."
Winner of the 2015 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award: "Horwitz's dogged reporting...combined with crisp, cinematic writing, produces a powerful narrative.... He has written a book that is instructive and passionate and deserving a wide audience" (PEN Award Citation).Six years in the making, War of the Whales is the "gripping detective tale" (Publishers Weekly) of a crusading attorney, Joel Reynolds, who stumbles on one of the US Navy's best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound--and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth. "War of the Whales reads like the best investigative journalism, with cinematic scenes of strandings and dramatic David-and-Goliath courtroom dramas as activists diligently hold the Navy accountable" (The Huffington Post). When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. "Strong and valuable" (The Washington Post), "brilliantly told" (Bob Woodward), author Joshua Horwitz combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue to "raise serious questions about the unchecked use of secrecy by the military to advance its institutional power" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Fascinating color photos let you see whales in their natural habitat. Learn about their behavior, external anatomy, and physical features. Discussed in the text are the humpback, minke, finback, and the rarely seen right whales, baleen whales that eat by taking in thousands of gallons of water and schools of fish or plankton and filtering the water through the baleen. Discover their behaviors, including breaching, lob tailing, and flipper slapping. This book is a fascinating look at the largest mammals to roam the Earth today.
New insights into the world's most-feared predator.
Sharks are exquisite creatures refined and honed by competitive forces that have lived in balance with ocean prey for millions of years. They live in every ocean habitat on Earth, from shallow tide pools to the deep abyss, and from the open ocean to where rivers meet the sea. In Sharks a top research scientist explores what has made sharks such successful predators, how they differ from other animals in their biological success and what unique advantages evolution has conferred. Sharks is illustrated with uniquely sourced photography demonstrating newly observed behavior, scientific findings and recent developments in our understanding of how they live. Sharks is both a spectacular visual celebration, and a scientific document that explores in detail their unique physiology.
A powerful swimming stroke is delivered from sharks' muscles directly to their tough skin shell forcing their body to "inflate" like a car tire with each flex, then quickly become fluid to glide as the muscles relax. By diving through the various water layers, a shark may locate and follow chemical scent trails that could lead to food concentrations. Thus a shark moving from one temperature layer to the next can expose its sensory equipment to new chemical cues and potentially new food sources. Some deep-sea sharks also lure prey with their light-producing organs.
Salvador Jorgensen has combined the latest discoveries of new species, newly-documented shark behavior, and the best photographs, to give a "state-of-knowledge" picture of sharks. Unique pictures of shark births, recently discovered creatures from the Ocean Census research, and details of sharks' skin, eyes, teeth and heads (including a comparison of nine different hammerhead varieties) make this a book every shark enthusiast will want. It will also debunk many myths about shark behavior, and give readers a true, 21st-century documentation of a very popular wild animal.
Sharks features illustrated profiles of species living in the shallow reefs and also those living in the open ocean along with a unique "cladogram" family tree that opens into a gatefold and profiles every known species.
Documenting his life among whales, a field biologist addresses a wide range of subjects--from the purpose of the brain to peaceful cohabitation among the world's creatures--and offers information and stories about the ocean world