Synopses & Reviews
The eighty-nine cetacean species that swim our seas and rivers are as diverse as they are intelligent and elusive, from the hundred-foot-long, two-hundred-ton blue whale to the lesser-known tucuxi, ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, and diminutive, critically endangered vaquita. The huge distances these highly migratory creatures cover and the depths they dive mean we catch only the merest glimpses of their lives as they break the surface of the water. But thanks to the marriage of science and technology, we are now beginning to understand their anatomy, complex social structures, extraordinary communication abilities, and behavioral patterns. In this beautifully illustrated guide, renowned marine mammalogist Annalisa Berta draws on the contributions of a pod of fellow whale biologists to present the most comprehensive, authoritative overview ever published of these remarkable aquatic mammals.
Opening with an accessible rundown of cetacean biologyandmdash;including the most recent science on feeding, mating, and communicationandmdash;Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises then presents species-specific natural history on a range of topics, from anatomy and diet to distribution and conservation status. Each entry also includes original drawings of the species and its key identifiers, such as fin shape and color, tooth shape, and characteristic markings as they would appear both above and below waterandmdash;a feature unique to this book.
Figures of myth andandmdash;as the debate over hunting rages onandmdash;figures of conflict since long before the days of Moby-Dick, whales, dolphins, and porpoises are also ecologically important and, in many cases, threatened. Written for general enthusiasts, emergent cetacean fans, and biologists alike, this stunning, urgently needed book will serve as the definitive guide for years to come.
“I simply love this book. In Dolphin Confidential, renowned scientist Maddalena Bearzi tells us what it is like to be a field researcher and what it is like to be a dolphin, the ups and downs of daily life, and her excitement about learning just who these fascinating animals are. Bearzis science is impeccable, and her book is an easy read for those who want to share her and the dolphins lives.” Marc Bekoff, author of Wild Justice
“Maddalena Bearzi impresses me with her capabilities and passion as a marine mammal scientist and her clear and erudite manner of expressing the interface between science and an emotional sense of the animals she studies. I recommend this beautifully illustrated book to the starry-eyed juvenile would-be marine biologist, to those of us beginning our twilight years who may need a reminder of how we started and what this should mean in a larger sense of helping fragile Earth, and to all those academically and environmentally minded in between.” Bernd W�rsig, Texas A&M University at Galveston
“This is a delightful chronicle of a young ocean lovers journey to turn her passion into a career in science, and that scientists coming-of-age as she observes an ocean changing around her and the creatures she has come to love and defend. I found it both relaxing and energizing, all at the same time.”
Carl Safina, author of� Song for the Blue Ocean
“Dolphin Confidential takes the reader on the authors memorable journey from a curious nature-lover to a respected, thoughtful scientist and conservation advocate. Full of intriguing observations and exciting field experiences, this book will help people to view the oceans and marine life with respect and joy, and to build the stewardship ethic that is so greatly needed. For people who love and are fascinated by dolphins, this book is a true treasure.” Ellen Prager, author of Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Ocean's Oddest Creatures
“She offers a compelling tale of her career, all written in arresting present tense, and her close observations of dolphin behavior within it reveal more about the security of an individual who followed her passion than deep insights into dolphin culture. Bearzi wants to inspire others to become involved with conservation, as ‘this intimate life with dolphins, whales, and other creatures has left a profound and beautiful impression. . . . Anecdotes of dolphins mourning, feeding, and behaving heroically remind the reader of the commonalities and differences in these sea creatures and ourselves. . . . In this tale of intellectual pursuit and study, Bearzi asks the reader to do as she has done while also working for the animals protection: ‘The more I learn about my fellow animals, the more I feel the need to protect them in their natural state.” Publishers Weekly
“Pairing vivid images of bottlenose dolphins swimming together and caring for one another with descriptions of the meticulous scientific work required to record their behavior, Maddalena Bearzi (founder, Los Angeles Dolphin Project; coauthor, Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins ) sheds light on the life of a field biologist. She avoids attributing human emotions to dolphins (their brains responses cannot be documented in the wild) but conveys her love of the species and concern for their survival in ever more-polluted oceans. . . . A beautifully written account of the author's scientific development.” Library Journal
"Youll meet the amazing dolphins who live in the so-called metropolitan waters off Los Angeles—as well as plenty of colorful characters of the human variety—in the lively, informative Dolphin Confidential. Marine biologist Bearzi is an appealing literary companion. Her narrative is charming and accessible, full of fun scientific facts and beautifully observed detail. Still, as easygoing as the story may be, Bearzi doesnt shy away from challenging, big-picture issues: wildlife conservation, animal cognition, and the shared health concerns of animals and humans. Dolphin Confidential is the perfect beach read: you can look up from its pages entertained and infinitely more knowledgeable about the marine habitat before your very eyes." Zocalo Public Square
“This book reveals fascinating incidents in the career of a young woman born in Italy who conducted research on lizards, sea turtles, and dolphins. After immigrating to the US, Bearzi continued her education and research, concentrating on dolphins. Her enthusiastic and engaging account of her research career will be of interest to any young student interested in biology. . . . Highly recommended.” Choice
Who hasn’t fantasized about the unique thrill of working among charismatic and clever dolphins in the wild? We need not live this solely in our imaginations anymore. With Dolphin Confidential Maddalena Bearzi invites all of us shore-bound dreamers to join her and travel alongside the dolphins. In this fascinating account, she takes us inside the world of a marine scientist and offers a firsthand understanding of marine mammal behavior, as well as the frustrations, delights, and creativity that make up dolphin research. In this intimate narrative, Bearzi recounts her experiences at sea, tracing her own evolution as a woman and a scientist from her earliest travails to her transformation into an advocate for conservation and dolphin protection. These compelling, in-depth descriptions of her fieldwork also present a captivating look into dolphin social behavior and intelligence. The central part of the book is devoted to the metropolitan bottlenose dolphins of California, as Bearzi draws on her extensive experience to offer insights into the daily lives of these creatures—as well as the difficulties involved in collecting the data that transforms hunches into hypotheses and eventually scientific facts. The book closes by addressing the critical environmental and conservation problems facing these magnificent, socially complex, highly intelligent, and emotional beings. An honest, down-to-earth analysis of what it means to be a marine biologist in the field today, Dolphin Confidential offers an entertaining, never less than candid, and always informative description of life among the dolphins.
About the Author
Annalisa Berta is professor of biology at San Diego State University, where she specializes in the evolutionary biology of marine mammals, especially baleen whales. Berta is coauthor of Marine Mammals, Third Edition: Evolutionary Biology and author of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals. She lives in San Diego, CA.
Table of Contents
PrologueAcknowledgmentsPart 1 Magical Bonds
2 Among Lizards
4 Face-to-Face with Dolphins
5 Adiós, El Palmar
6 Conservation AwakeningPart 2 Metropolitan Dolphins
9 Cosmopolitan Dolphins
10 Party Time!
11 Desperately Seeking Dolphins
12 FingerprintedPart 3 Hard Times
13 Invading Their World
14 Dolphins Under the Weather
15 Vanishing InnocentsPart 4 Learning from Dolphins
17 Emotional BeingsEpilogueList of Cetaceans CitedSuggested ReadingsIndex