The ocean teems with life that thrives under difficult situations in unusual environments. The Extreme Life of the Sea takes readers to the absolute limits of the ocean world—the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans. It dives into the icy Arctic and boiling hydrothermal vents—and exposes the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches—to show how marine life thrives against the odds. This thrilling book brings to life the sea’s most extreme species, and tells their stories as characters in the drama of the oceans. Coauthored by Stephen Palumbi, one of today’s leading marine scientists, The Extreme Life of the Sea tells the unforgettable tales of some of the most marvelous life forms on Earth, and the challenges they overcome to survive. Modern science and a fluid narrative style give every reader a deep look at the lives of these species.
The Extreme Life of the Sea shows you the world’s oldest living species. It describes how flying fish strain to escape their predators, how predatory deep-sea fish use red searchlights only they can see to find and attack food, and how, at the end of her life, a mother octopus dedicates herself to raising her batch of young. This wide-ranging and highly accessible book also shows how ocean adaptations can inspire innovative commercial products—such as fan blades modeled on the flippers of humpback whales—and how future extremes created by human changes to the oceans might push some of these amazing species over the edge.
Stephen R. Palumbi is Professor of Biology and Director of the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University. Anthony R. Palumbi, Stephen’s son, is a science writer and novelist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic and other publications.
"This gem of a book by marine biologist Stephen Palumbi and his son, science writer Anthony Palumbi, finds enough weirdness in the ocean to feed creativity for generations to come. . . . The Palumbis' writing is a wonderful mix of meticulous science and creative panache. . . . A joy whether read at one sitting, or dipped in and out of to prolong the pleasure."--Callum Roberts, Nature
"Marine biologist Stephen R. Palumbi and writer Anthony R. Palumbi survey an impressive catch of extreme oceanic species, from the oldest to the deepest-dwelling. . . . A brilliant use of the rich store of research into Earth’s largest habitat."--Nature
"From 'immortal' jellyfish that age in reverse, to zombie bone worms that eat the skeletons of dead whales, the ocean is full of bizarre characters. Biologist Stephen Palumbi and his science writer son, Anthony, profile the most unusual specimens. Chapters cover the smallest, the oldest, the hottest and the coldest species, among others, and the landscape of strange creatures is brought to life by charming writing."--Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American
"The Palumbis probe life in the depths of the oceans and in tide waters in successive chapters spotlighting the long-lived Bowhead whale; sea species that adapt to extremely high temperatures and others to cold; clownfish, which change gender, becoming male or female as circumstances dictate; and much more. The authors end with a warning that the oceans contain a complex ecology in which each species 'thrives in its easily disrupted specialized niche.'. . . A sparkling appreciation of the wonderful variety of marine life that also communicates an important message."--Kirkus Reviews
Table of Contents:
Preface and Acknowledgments: Guiltless Wonder vii
Prologue The Epic Ocean 1
1 The Earliest 5
2 The Most Archaic 19
3 The Smallest 36
4 The Deepest 46
5 The Shallowest 65
6 The Oldest 81
7 The Fastest Sprints and Longest Journeys 94
8 The Hottest 112
9 The Coldest 125
10 The Strangest Family Lives 141
11 Future Extremes 158
Epilogue: A Grand Bargain 175
Color figures follow page 84.