It’s Christmas book buying time again. These are a few of my recommendations for those looking for a book gift about the sea. And there are many good choices again this year.
My first recommendation is “Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean” (University of Chicago Press) by Lisa-ann Gershwin. This is an extensive account of the numerous jellyfish population explosions and their impact throughout the world. Gershwin documents several cases where jellyfish blooms have decimated fisheries and created havoc in many ecosystems. She does an outstanding job in linking these problems with the larger issues of climate change, ocean acidification, and marine pollution. In some parts of the world jellyfish have outcompeted local species for food, thereby changing the biotic structure of the ecosystem.
The development and promotion of aquaculture has been increasing in southeastern Massachusetts in recent years. This is not an easy way to make money, but is definitely an important part of the region’s culture and economy. Journalist Erin Byers Murray has written a fascinating story of the life and times of oyster farming in Duxbury in her book, “Shucked – Life on a New England Oyster Farm” (St. Martin’s Press). This is a wonderful and entertaining book about the complexities and hard work associated with the aquaculture industry. I have always admired those who work in aquaculture and Murray’s story enhanced my respect for anyone who toils in this industry.
There have been many publications devoted to marine pollution and its effects. From marine debris to ocean acidification the ocean is under assault and is threatened from a number of sources. A new book entitled, “Marine Pollution – What Everyone Needs To Know” (Oxford University Press) by Judith S. Weis is a comprehensive survey of marine contaminants and threats. Using a question and answer format Weis reviews most of the environmental problems in the ocean today including oil spills, pesticides, organic chemicals and nutrients. She also provides many solutions to this growing list of environmental stressors.
Finally, a bit of self promotion. For those who read this column you may be interested in my new book “Coastal Corners of Cape Cod” (West Barnstable Press). I have devoted several chapters to my favorite topics in coastal ecology. My book is available on Amazon or from the Barnstable Land Trust (www.blt.org).
Copyright Gil Newton 2009 Thanks to Chris Dumas for logo image.