My students frequently ask me for additional reading recommendations beyond their coastal ecology assignments. Because of the upcoming holidays I thought I would share some of those ideas for those looking for a perfect gift in marine science.
Renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle has written many books about the sea. Recently she wrote “The World Is Blue” (National Geographic), an excellent account of the environmental crisis facing the world ocean today. Topics include climate change, biodiversity, offshore drilling, and aquaculture. Sylvia Earle weaves her extensive experience into a detailed analysis of current marine issues.
There have been a number of books published on the life of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, arguably the most important marine conservationist of the twentieth century. A recent addition to this list is “Jacques Cousteau – The Sea King” by Brad Matsen (Pantheon Books, New York). Matsen’s book covers the diverse background of this complicated man who influenced so many to study the ocean. From Cousteau’s heroism in World War II to his enormous contribution to protecting the environment, this book is a wonderful tour of a lifetime of high achievement.
Because of my strong interest in seaweeds, I am often asked for recipes using our local marine algae. Can you eat it is a common question I am frequently asked. One of the best sources for this is “Sea Vegetables – Harvesting Guide & Cookbook” by Evelyn McConnaughey (Naturegraph Publishers). McConnaughey focuses on west coast seaweeds, but it’s still fascinating to read about the many uses of the marine flora and the fact that they are quite nutritious. Several of these plants are closely related to east coast species. There are recipes for soups, dressings, pies, dips, and even seaweed quiche. This excellent guide opens up new worlds of culinary exploration.
To get a thorough review of the problems facing the ocean today I highly recommend “The Ocean Of Life” by Callum Roberts (Viking). This comprehensive book explains in detail the intricate complexities of modern marine environmental problems. These include global warming, overfishing, and toxic pollution. There are excellent chapters on ocean acidification and the loss of biodiversity. Roberts also provides a timely list of possible solutions, and is very convincing of their urgency.
To round out your holiday readings, please re-visit a classic and one of my favorites, “The Edge of the Sea” by Rachel Carson (Houghton Mifflin Company). One of the most influential environmentalists in history was also one of the greatest writers. Very few authors can successfully combine science with poetic literature the way Carson could. All of her books are magnificent, but this one is a real gem.
Copyright Gil Newton 2009 Thanks to Chris Dumas for logo image.