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The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss Hardcover – 27 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1st Edition edition (27 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226595668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226595665
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 2.8 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

On dry land, most organisms are confined to the surface, or at most to altitudes of a hundred meters - the height of the tallest trees. In the oceans, though, living space has both vertical and horizontal dimensions: with an average depth of 3,800 meters, the oceans offer 99 percent of the space on Earth where life can develop. And the deep sea, which has been immersed in total darkness since the dawn of time, occupies 85 percent of ocean space, forming the planet's largest habitat. Yet, these depths abound with mystery. The deep sea is mostly uncharted - only about 5 percent of the seafloor has been mapped with any reasonable degree of detail - and we know very little about the creatures that call it home. Current estimates about the number of species yet to be found vary between ten and thirty million. The deep sea no longer has anything to prove; it is without doubt Earth's largest reservoir of life. Combining the latest scientific discoveries with astonishing color imagery, "The Deep" takes readers on a voyage into the darkest realms of the ocean.

Revealing nature's oddest and most mesmerizing creatures in crystalline detail, "The Deep" features more than two hundred color photographs of terrifying sea monsters, living fossils, and ethereal bioluminescent creatures, some photographed here for the very first time. Accompanying these breathtaking photographs are contributions from some of the world's most respected researchers that examine the biology of deep-sea organisms, the ecology of deep-sea habitats, and the history of deep-sea exploration. An unforgettable visual and scientific tour of the teeming abyss, "The Deep" celebrates the incredible diversity of life on Earth and will captivate anyone intrigued by the unseen - and unimaginable - creatures of the deep sea.


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've always been fascinated by the deep sea. As David Attenborough has pointed out in the marvellous BBC series "Blue Planet", half of the world's surface is covered by water more than a mile deep, and we still know very little about what goes on down there. More men have walked on the moon than have penetrated the deepest ocean depths. This magnificent publication helps redress the balance. It takes you down to this bizarre world with its pitch blackness and crushing pressures and shows you some of its inhabitants (I believe a new species is discovered every ten days). The pictures are augmented by fascinating descriptions. The only sad note is that two of the creatures depicted, the two enormous squids (giant and colossal) with their dinner plate-sized eyes, will probably never be seen the way they have been depicted (artists' representations, as opposed to photos) - it was only recently that Japanese researchers got actual photos of the live animals. Still the artists' representations are fascinating and excite the imagination with the knowledge that there be real monsters down there and that this is what they look like.

Claire Nouvian has done us a great service by producing this book showing us an extraordinary world, and one which man is in the process of destroying without even knowing what's down there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 8 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Joe Cocker's lament at Woodstock might well be echoed by the horde of bizarre creatures inhabiting the world's ocean depths. Their forms are alien - in fact, at least one may be the Earthly version of the film's off-world predator. Their habitat is cold and dark, yet there is more opportunity to flourish, and perhaps more species reflecting that condition, than the surface we're familiar with now contains. Many live on the remains of life drifting down from the surface or shallow layers. Others seek out prey in a number of zones in the water column. For there are but two things inhabiting this stygian realm - animals and minerals. Life is spent "looking for something to eat or somebody to love". In this spectacular album of photographs, accompanied by informative essays by oceanic researchers, we are given a first clear view into an unknown zone of life's largest arena.

Although quite possibly the zone where life began billions of years ago, the deep sea has long been hidden. Sunlight fades quickly, and perceptible colours shift from blue to red, then disappear. In the deeps, red is the dominant biological colour because nothing can see it. Reflecting this, the photographs are dominated by scarlet-hued creatures who only wish to be seen by potential mates. Others are almost perfectly transparent, a survival trait in a locale where having too much brain, heart or eyes can be fatally visible. Shapes vary across species with infinite ingenuity, but no few of these creatures can modify their profile either on demand or as part of their normal life cycle. With survival always a challenge, both predators and prey must be able to adapt effectively. From our viewpoint, seeing these animals in fully-illuminated conditions, they seem to stand out vividly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Los Angeleno on 8 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well done Claire Nouvian - I have been a fan of the fascinating denizens of the deep for many years, and have a lot of books on the subject, but this is the best so far. It's full of beautiful photos, printed on very high quality art paper, with excellent descriptions and accompanying stories by renowned sea explorers.

For anyone with the slightest interest in sea life, this book is a treasure trove of delights, to inspire dreams for years to come.

I can't recommend this highly enough - buy this book; you won't regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tachelet Bruno on 27 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
Like already mentioned above, this is a superb book with stunning images.

But while they where printing my book, I guess there should have been a desert storm in the neighbourhood of the printing-office: lots of pages have dust particles on the edges (about 3 cm inward the center of the book) of the page.
That's a real shame and a real insult to the photographer.
As you might know, 1000 m below the surface of the sea, everything is inkblack. But because of the poor printing, the black environment is filled with white dustparticles, so the contrast between the beautiful photographed species and the black environment is almost completely gone.
Shame on the lousy French printing-office.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Whyndham on 16 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
These weird creatures are down there, minding their own business and squirming for life in their dark habitat, and along come the submarine explorers (effectively from outer space as far as these fishy things are concerned) with their metal bodies and flashguns. Then they appear in this book, which is a real eye-opener. Some of these critters are deep-sea versions of things we've seen before, others, are well, just alien-looking.

This is more than a picture book of bizarre aliens who live on our planet though, as the incredible photo sequences are interspersed with detailed essays from experts in marine science. All the creatures are properly captioned (and there is an index of binomial species names for reference).

I could have maybe done with the occasional map to visualise the undersea geopgraphy, but that's really a minor quibble. Another minor quibble concerns the sometimes clunky quality of the English text; I have a feeling this would be a lot smoother in French. Had these factors been different, and the whole thing slightly cheaper, it would readily get 5*.
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