The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing A Backbone

Book - 2017
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A former ocean biologist describes how she rediscovered her passion for marine science while investigating the enigmatic jellyfish and what the species' unique physiologies can teach about engineering and environmental stability.
"Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting--microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity--is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers. More than a decade ago, Juli Berwald left a career in ocean science to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas. But then jellyfish drew her back to the sea. Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants, decimated fisheries, and caused millions of dollars of damage. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Juli embarked on a scientific odyssey. She traveled the globe to meet the biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raised jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marveled at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless is the story of how Juli learned to navigate and ultimately embrace her ambition, her curiosity, and her passion for the natural world. She discovers that jellyfish science is more than just a quest for answers. It's a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share."--Dust jacket flaps.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books, in imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780735211261
Branch Call Number: 593.53 BE
Characteristics: 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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multcolib_karene Apr 01, 2018

Jellyfish (and this author) are pretty darn amazing!

Mar 08, 2018

While I learned a lot about the jellyfish, I also learned a lot about the author and her family, which was way less interesting. Could've used a good editor.

JessicaGma Mar 07, 2018

An absolutely brilliant look into jellyfish which I knew very little about. The book combines memoir with information about jellyfish, and although some of the memoir points plod a bit (and this is only a tiny bit), her enthusiasm for trying to parse out all the information she can about jellyfish, the oceans and their future is very engaging.

Jan 11, 2018

Loved this book, and author visits Seattle on Jan. 22 to give talk at Elliott Bay Book Company.


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