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Spineless : the science of jellyfish and the art of growing a backbone

Author: Juli Berwald
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
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.
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Berwald, Juli.
Spineless.
New York : Riverhead Books, 2017
(DLC) 2017007895
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Juli Berwald
ISBN: 9780735211261 0735211264
OCLC Number: 973199818
Description: 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Planula. If you dare --
Polyp. What's your agenda? ; Jellyfish salad ; Missing polyp ; In jelly genes ; Robojelly ; Seeing what's not there ; Day-glo jellies ; Jellyfish sense ; The nerve of the jellyfish ; Life's limits --
Strobila. The bottom of the wave --
Ephyra. Stop waiting ; Sacred island ; Stalking the beast ; Jellyfish al dente ; Jellyfishing --
Medusa. Toxic cocktail ; Sting block ; In medusa's blood ; Party like a jellyfish ; Bloom.
Responsibility: Juli Berwald ; illustrations by Rachel Ivanyi.

Abstract:

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.

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