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5.0 out of 5 stars Life at the limits, 18 April 2014
This review is from: The Extreme Life of the Sea (Hardcover)
If there is an empty niche in Nature, however inhospitable, then a living organism will evolve to call it home. Nowhere have I seen this better illustrated than in this fascinating book. The authors, a marine biologist and his novelist son, have drawn on the creatures that thrive in the oceans’ most extreme environments to celebrate the astonishing diversity of life on Earth.

From the origins of all present-day body plans in the Cambrian Explosion, they take us through the hottest, coldest, deepest, shallowest and most toxic places in the seas, to show us the lives of their oldest, fastest, toughest and most abundant inhabitants. Some of these live in conditions so hellish, or display lifestyles so bizarre that they would tax the imaginations of the most inventive fantasy fiction writers. Many have evolved body forms that have remained unchanged for millions of years, and have survived because of the generally stable deep sea environment. Others survive at the very limits of their capabilities. All, the authors stress in the final chapter, are very vulnerable, in different ways, to the effects of climate change.

The life in our oceans is vast, and much of it is still unknown. To emphasize its complexity, the authors have chosen a small, but representative sample from each ecosystem and described their interactions in language that is both beautifully descriptive and refreshingly free of technical terms. Here is a book that will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the biology of the seas, whatever their level of scientific education.
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The Extreme Life of the Sea
The Extreme Life of the Sea by Anthony R. Palumbi (Hardcover - 23 Feb. 2014)
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