Jellyfish: A Natural History (Hardcover)
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Jellyfish, with their undulating umbrella-shaped bells and sprawling tentacles, are as fascinating and beautiful as they are frightening and dangerous. They are found in every ocean at every depth, and they are the oldest multi-organed life form on the planet, having inhabited the ocean for more than five hundred million years. In many places they are also vastly increasing in number, and these population blooms may be an ominous indicator of the rising temperatures and toxicity of the world’s oceans.
Jellyfish presents these aquarium favorites in all their extraordinary and captivating beauty. Fifty unique species, from stalked jellyfish to black sea nettles, are presented in stunning color photographs along with the most current scientific information on their anatomy, history, distribution, position in the water, and environmental status. Foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin provides an insightful look at the natural history and biology of each of these spellbinding creatures, while offering a timely take on their place in the rapidly changing and deteriorating condition of the oceans. Readers will learn about immortal jellyfish who live and die and live again as well as those who camouflage themselves amid sea grasses and shells, hiding in plain sight.
Approachably written and based in the latest science and ecology, this colorful book provides an authoritative guide to these ethereal marine wonders.
About the Author
Lisa-ann Gershwin is director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services. She was awarded a Fulbright in 1998 for her studies on jellyfish blooms and evolution, and she has discovered over two hundred new species—including at least sixteen types of jellyfish that are highly dangerous, as well as a new species of dolphin.
“One resembles an exquisitely ruffled and pleated confection of pale silk chiffon; another, a tangle of bioluminescent necklaces cascading from a bauble. Both marine drifters (Desmonema glaciale and Physalia) feature in jellyfish expert Gershwin’s absorbing coffee-table book on this transparent group with three evolutionary lineages. Succinct science is intercut with surreal portraiture — from the twinkling Santa's hat jellyfish (Periphylla periphylla) to the delicate blue by-the-wind sailor (Velella velella).”
“Every page of text in Jellyfish has facts as fascinating as these, woven into a thorough coverage of jellyfish history, biology and ecology. Gershwin, a marine biologist who has discovered over 200 new species of jellyfish, does an excellent job of combining a compelling narrative of 50 different jellyfish with luscious, I-can’t-believe-they’re-real photos. Put this book on your coffee table with caution—you might lose your guests as they submerge themselves into a book that’s as exotic as it is absorbing.”
“This beautifully illustrated guide introduces readers to the diversity of jellyfish and provides a primer on the seemingly alien animals’ physiology, ecology, and evolution.”
— Science News