Synopses & Reviews
From microscopic organisms on tidal rocks to dense marine forests, seaweeds vary widely in size and are amazingly well adapted to both the Arctic and the tropics. David Thomas presents a detailed look at what seaweeds are, how they live, and why humans value them.
Thomas describes the red, brown, and green classifications of seaweeds that encompass more than ten thousand species. He explains how seaweeds get all of their nutrients from the surrounding water, needing roots only to anchor to the sea floor, and how some species use “anti-grazing” strategies to discourage fish by releasing swift doses of unappetizing acids. The economic value of seaweed is astounding. Some species are harvested for $1 billion annually, and seaweed constitutes up to ten percent of the average diet in Japan. The search continues for compounds in seaweed that may be beneficial as new drugs, antibiotics, and cancer treatments. Not only is seaweed vital to coastal ecosystems, but it is also an important part of everyday life.
This detailed look at seaweeds describes the classifications that
encompass some 10,000 species of seaweeds, documents their
adaptations and life cycles, and looks at human uses for seaweeds and
their place on the economies of different countries. Threats to
seaweed are examined, such as coastal developments, pollution, and
the introduction of non-native seaweed populations. Color photos are
on every page, and a glossary is included. Thomas is a senior
lecturer in biological oceanography at the University of Wales.
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About the Author
David Thomas is a senior lecturer at the University of Wales in England. He has worked with and studied seaweed for twenty years.