Ocean Change and the Extinction of Life on Earth
We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earth’s temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole ocean system, as we are now, life as we know it is threatened.
In Seasick, veteran science journalist Alanna Mitchell dives beneath the surface of the world’s oceans to give readers a sense of how this watery realm can be managed and preserved, and with it life on earth. Each chapter features a different group of researchers who introduce readers to the importance of ocean currents, the building of coral structures, or the effects of acidification. With Mitchell at the helm, readers submerge 3,000 feet to gather sea sponges that may contribute to cancer care, see firsthand the lava lamp–like dead zone covering 17,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, and witness the simultaneous spawning of corals under a full moon in Panama.
The first book to look at the planetary environmental crisis through the lens of the global ocean, Seasick takes the reader on an emotional journey through a hidden realm of the planet and urges conservation and reverence for the fount from which all life on earth sprang.
1 The last best place on earth
Great Barrier Reef
2 Reading the vital signs: Oxygen
Gulf of Mexico
3 Reading the vital signs: pH
4 Reading the vital signs: Metabolism
5 Reading the vital signs: Fecundity
6 Reading the vital signs: Life force
7 Reading the vital signs: Medical history
8 Reading the vital sign that is China
9 Reading the vital signs: Adaptability
10 Finding hope
The Dry Tortugas
Epilogue: A call for wisdom
Metcalf Institute: Grantham Prize