Synopses & Reviews
Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever.
Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experienceandmdash;an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creaturesandrsquo; vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents.
Christian Sardetandrsquo;s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with planktonandrsquo;s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artistsandrsquo; imaginations.
While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.
"Readers will pick up science journalist Nouvian's book for its stunning, 200-plus full-page color photographs of dumbo octopi, vampire squid, frilled sharks, and hydrothermal vent worms; they will hang on to it for the well-written, extremely informative text." Librbary Journal
"The Deep is not only the most stunningly beautiful book about the sea ever produced, but also a work of scientific substance, articulated by some of the best, most experienced deep-sea scientists of our time. Even for those of us who have been enchanted by the wondrous life of the deep sea through direct engagement, this book renews the spirit and makes it possible to share with others a vicarious glimpse of the wild ocean." Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Society
"A luminous voyage to the bottom of the sea...Each of the 200-odd photographs in this book is in color. Bejeweled creatures-squid, comb jellies, octopuses, and tube worms-leap off the black pages in such a luminescent rainbow that you can't help but realize that the 'blackness' of the depths is a misnomer. In many case, photographs of these organisms appear in this book for the first time anywhere....Such intimate photographs are surely the book's triumph. But an articulate and informative commentary accompanies them." Richard Ellis, Discover
On dry land, most organisms are confined to the surface, or at most to altitudes of a hundred meters: the height of the tallest trees. In the oceans, though, living space has both vertical and horizontal dimensions: with an average depth of 3800 meters, the oceans offer 99% of the space on Earth where life can develop. And the deep sea, which has been immersed in total darkness since the dawn of time, occupies 85% of ocean space, forming the planet's largest habitat. Yet these depths abound with mystery. The deep sea is mostly uncharted (only about 5 percent of the seafloor has been mapped with any reasonable degree of detail) and we know very little about the creatures that call it home. Current estimates about the number of species yet to be found vary between ten and thirty million. The deep sea no longer has anything to prove; it is without doubt Earth's largest reservoir of life.
Combining the latest scientific discoveries with astonishing color imagery, The Deep takes readers on a voyage into the darkest realms of the ocean. Revealing nature's oddest and most mesmerizing creatures in crystalline detail, The Deep features more than two hundred color photographs of terrifying sea monsters, living fossils, and ethereal bioluminescent creatures, some photographed here for the very first time. Accompanying these breathtaking photographs are contributions from some of the world's most respected researchers that examine the biology of deep-sea organisms, the ecology of deep-sea habitats, and the history of deep-sea exploration.
An unforgettable visual and scientific tour of the teeming abyss, The Deep celebrates the incredible diversity of life on Earth and will captivate anyone intrigued by the unseen and unimaginable creatures of the deep sea.
Plankton are the great drifters of the sea, any creature carried along by ocean currents.and#160; They range in size from the tiniest virus to siphonophores, the longest animals in the world, and also include microscopic algae, krill, and even fish larvae.and#160; This floating world is the foundation of the aquatic food web, without which there would be no fish.and#160; They also consume as much carbon dioxide as all land trees and plants. Plankton also fuel our precious oil beds, as the layers of sediment they form over millions of years fossilized to form this bounty.
These amazing drifters are celebrated in form and function in the pages of book, which brings readers face to face with the most vibrant flotsam imaginable.and#160; Colors and textures belie complex evolutionary adaptation to their marine surroundings, which results in incredible diversity.and#160; Plankton are largely invisible to the human eye, and so for many, the journey in this book is as novel and uncharted as that to the abyss that flowed in the pages of The Deep.
, acclaimed photographer Susan Middleton explores the mysterious and surprising world of marine invertebrates, which represent more than 98 percent of the known animal species in the ocean. They are also astonishingly diverse in their shapes, patterns, textures, and colorsandmdash;in natureandrsquo;s fashion show, they are the haute couture of marine life.
This collection of more than 250 remarkable images is the result of seven years of painstaking fieldwork across the Pacific Ocean, using photographic techniques that Middleton developed to capture these extremely fragile creatures on camera. She also provides short essays that examine the place these invertebrates occupy on the tree of life, their vast array of forms, and their lives in the ocean. Scientist Bernadette Holthuis contributes profiles describing each species, many of them for the first time. Middletonandrsquo;s book is a stunning new view of nature that harmoniously combines art and science.
Internationally award-winning photographer Mark Laita has focused his vast technical and artistic expertise on the creatures of the deep. In Sea
, with cutting-edge photographic techniques, Laita unveils the full splendor and otherworldliness of the oceanand#8217;s inhabitants in an entirely new and thrilling way. Rippling reflections, stark backdrops, and surprising angles lay bare the astonishing beauty of the life that teems under the waterand#8217;s surface. Leaping from the pages are piggybacking sea horses, iridescent jellyfish, ethereal but menacing stingrays, and deadly puffer fish. Laitaand#8217;s masterful photography reveals their extraordinary colors, textures, and personalities to us as never before.
Praise for Sea:
and#8220;Here is craft honed to so high a level it becomes art. Sea is simply a miracle of depiction.and#8221;and#160;
and#8212;The Wall Street Journal
and#160; Spanning from the arctic to the tropics, from large-scale views of Australiaand#8217;s barrier reef to close-up images of sea turtles, Man and Sea
is a compelling, entirely unique journey through a fascinating world. Spectacular aerial images by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and striking underwater photographs by Brian Skerry offer a top-to-bottom tour of the worldand#8217;s oceans, while the enlightening text covers the seaand#8217;s critical mechanisms, from currents to food chains. Inspiring interviews of some of the worldand#8217;s most respected researchers and activists also offer cutting-edge insight into the many challenges, such as overfishing and pollution, facing the oceans today. Exploring the critical and ever-evolving relationship between mankind and the ocean, Man and Sea
is an unforgettable portrait of the global issue of sustainable development.
Praise for Man and Sea:
and#147;Mr. Skerryand#8217;s Technicolor image of hard corals on the Kingman Reef far out in the Pacific and Mr. Bertrandand#8217;s shot of the pale sand of Whitsunday Island near the Great Barrier Reef are cool and timeless portraits of treasures we might easily think limitless.and#8221; and#151;The Editors, Wall Street Journal and#160;
About the Author
Susan Middleton is an acclaimed photographer, author, and lecturer specializing in the portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures. For thirteen years she was the chair of the Department of Photography at the California Academy of Sciences, where she now serves as research associate. Her most recent book isand#160;Evidence of Evolutionand#160;(Abrams 2009). Previous booksand#160;in collaboration with David Liittschwager includeand#160;Archipelago, Remains of a Rainbowand#160;(National Geographic),and#160;Witness,and#160;andand#160;Here Todayand#160;(Chronicle Books).and#160;Her photographs have been exhibited worldwide in fine art and natural history contexts, and are represented in the permanent collections ofand#160;the National Academy of Sciences and the National Gallery of Art. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2009. She lives in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Prologue, by Mark Ohman
Introduction. Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World What Are Plankton?
Plankton and Man
The Origins: Life Shapes the Planet
Explosions, Extinctions, and Evolution of Life in the Ocean
A Chronological History of the Planet and the Tree of Life
Taxonomy and Phylogeny: Hierarchical Categorizations
Organisms of All Sizes, with Different Roles and Behavior
Collecting and Identifying Plankton, Then and NowPlankton of the Worldand#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Villefranche-sur-Mer, France: A Bay Famous for Its Plankton
Between Ecuador and Galapagos: Tara Oceans Expedition
South Carolina, United States: Salt Marsh Estuaries
Izu Peninsula and Shimoda, Japan: Autumn PlanktonUnicellular Creatures: From the Origins of Life Bacteria, Archaea, and Viruses: Invisible but Omnipresent
Unicellular Protists: Precursors of Plants and Animals
Coccolithophores and Foraminifera: Limestone Architects
Diatoms and Dinoflagellates: Silicate or Cellulose Houses
Radiolarians: Polycystines and Acantharians: Symbiosis at the Ocean Surface
Ciliates, Tintinnids, and Choanoflagellates: Motility and MulticellularityCtenophores and Cnidarians: Ancestral Forms Ctenophores: Carnivorous Comb Jellies
Jellyfish: Equipped to Survive
Siphonophores: The Longest Animals in the World
Velella, Porpita, and Physalia: Planktonic SailorsCrustaceans and Mollusks: Champions of Diversity Crustacean Larvae: Molting and Metamorphosis
Copepods to Amphipods: Variations on a Theme
Phronima: Monster in a Barrel
Pteropods and Heteropods: Mollusks That Swim with Their Feet
Cephalopods and Nudibranchs: Beautiful Colors and CamouflageWorms and Tadpoles: Arrows, Tubes, and Nets Chaetognaths: Arrows in the Oceans
Polychaete Annelids: Worms in the Sea
Salps, Doliolids, and Pyrosomes: Highly Evolved Gelatinous Animals
Larvaceans: Tadpoles That Live in a Net
Embryos and LarvaeEpilogue