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Creatures of the Deep: In search of the sea's 'monsters' and the world they live in Hardcover – October 6, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Science and nature writer Erich Hoyt (Orca: The Whale Called Killer; The Earth Dwellers) combines dramatic photographs with extraordinary tales of undersea life in Creatures of the Deep: In Search of the Sea's "Monsters" and the World They Live In. No sea bass here: Hoyt prefers the creepier populations of bloody belly ctenophores, vampire squid, sea cucumbers and dragonfish. From the surface-dwelling manta ray to the marine spider of the hadal zone (appropriately named for Hades), Hoyt describes life cycles and family trees of marine flora and fauna, as well as the scientific community's efforts to understand them. Startling facts abound, and Hoyt's enthusiasm for his subject shows on every page.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Presenting select marine creatures from around the world, Hoyt also provides a tour of the multilayered organization of the seas from top to bottom. In the preface, he defines and describes the term "monster" and specifies life-forms designated by this label in the oceans. As the author goes on to describe the layer after layer of water, he features a monster or monsters from each stratum. Photographs of the animals help to dramatize the information and data. Hoyt explains words or terms that might be unclear and draws upon word history and meanings when needed. For "hadal zone," he gives the historical background of the term as well. In this manner, he clarifies and educates, and the information flow is never impeded. The general summary of the ocean's layers, specific views of the selected "monsters," and the perspective of the life and environment interaction combine to make this book a splendid overview. The photographs, sidebars, and unique life-forms presented offer opportune ways of catching the attention of reluctant readers.

Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (October 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552093409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552093405
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an author of books on wildlife and science for adults and kids; I like to tell a story that hasn't been told using my own style of narrative nonfiction. I am also a researcher and lecturer (working in Japan, Russia and many other countries). I like exploring new frontiers, trying new things...I have been very fortunate to work with various dolphin and whale species in many countries, as well as ants in the tropical rain forest.

My first book, Orca: The Whale Called Killer, tells the story of seven summers I spent living among three big "families" or pods of killer whales (orcas) off northern Vancouver Island, Canada.

My newest books are the all new singing and dancing Creatures of the Deep (2nd edition, 2x orig length, 135 all new photos) (Oct. 2014) and Weird Sea Creatures (March 2013) for age 12 to adult featuring state-of-the-art photographs of the latest amazing deep sea animals, many of them only discovered in the past couple years and some still un-named.

My previous books include: Seasons of the Whale, recently published in an updated ebook edition. In this book I follow several known humpback, right and blue whales through a momentous year in their lives -- a true story of the year that the North Atlantic Ocean began to "talk back" to those who cared about it as well as to those who didn't.

In The Earth Dwellers, I get down to a few centimeters off the ground and trace several years in the lives of a colony of leafcutter ants and the scientists who study them in Costa Rica. In alternative chapters, I weave the story of the ants and the story of the scientists -- two well known entomologists (insect scientists), EO Wilson from Harvard and Bill Brown from Cornell who trade arguments, jokes and banter in their pursuit of the big find.

I loved researching and writing Creatures of the Deep, with its literary, historical, mythical and actual journeys to the bottom of the sea as well as along the world's longest mountain range (underwater) and starting from the tiniest organisms up the long food chain to the top predators. It's a story of a dark, high pressure, unexplored world and bizarre, little known creatures that communicate by touch, flashing lights and who knows what else.

These books are for adults but variously enjoyed by young adults and older kids. I have also written four other books just for kids.

As a working scientist and conservationist, I also write scientific papers, reports and books such as Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. A world handbook for cetacean habitat conservation and planning (Taylor & Francis, London & New York, 2011). I am a Research Fellow with WDC -- Whale and Dolphin Conservation and a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission - Cetacean Specialist Group and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. I also help direct the Far East Russia Orca Project, a long-term project with Russian scientists to understand the killer whales in the vast Russian waters, and the Russian Cetacean Habitat Project, which studies Baird's beaked whales, North Pacific right whales, and humpback whales in the Russian Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve.

I enjoy giving talks and illustrated presentations. In the past few years, I have been invited to speak in the UK, France, Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, the US, Mexico, Suriname, Panama, Monaco, Argentina and Chile. I especially enjoyed working in Japan giving simulated whale watch presentations at the 2005 World Expo (theme: nature's wonders) and at the World Whale Watching Conference and the Symposium: New Tales about Whales in Science, Society & Art, at the UN University, Tokyo, Dec 2010. In 2014, I helped launch the first Japanese Whale & Dolphin Watching Organization in Tokyo. My other talks are about "my life with orcas", creating marine reserves, "from ants to whales", and the future of marine conservation, "creatures of the deep", and the best dolphin and whale watching around the world. I also give talks on writing popular science with a story: narrative nonfiction, and on preparing book proposals that sell. At a recent public lecture in Adelaide, Australia, I talked about several subjects linked by my search for stories: "Of Orcas, Ants and Creatures of the Deep".

Please see my web sites, and

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Natalie Mills on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating, compelling book with a lot of truly phenomenal photography throughout. I love deep-sea beasties - they please my aesthetic taste - spiky, fangy, bizarre and... bioluminescent. Hmm. The writing is clear, concise and evocative - an 'easy' read without being simplistic or dumbed-down. Overall, an excellent trip into a world here and not-here. Highly recommended.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Newton Ooi on July 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The deep sea is considered the last place on Earth that is relatively untouched and unexplored by man. As such, the last 20 years have witnessed an explosion in the number of books, movies (think IMAX), documentaries (Discovery Channel) and other lay-man oriented exposes on the deep sea. This book fits right in with that trend, and serves as a good introduction to the biology of the deep sea.

The book describes the different zones of the ocean, how each is uniquely different from the others, and how they interact with each other. The book then focuses on the deep sea, that layer of water that extends from 2 miles below the surface to the very sea-bottom. The emphasis is on the different animals that live in this part of the sea, such as anglerfish, viperfish, certain types of sharks, the denizens around undersea hot vents, etc... There is also discussion of life cycles, the ocean geography, currents, and the food chain.

The book itself is quite interesting to read, or just to flip through. The photos of the various deep-sea animals are quite impressive, and in color of course. The text itself is appropriate for anyone with at least a high school education. The entire book can be read in one sitting, the level of science is appropriate for high-school seniors, and the pages are well laid out with pictures interspersed within the text.

Excepting the color photographs, the book itself is not much better than previous texts in this same topic. I do recommend it for reading though, as it is enjoyable and educational at the same time.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "anomalies-unlimited" on April 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I sat with this book for 4 solid hours, in aew. Packed with incredible photos of creatures so bizarre that you couldn't invent anything even close to this reality. Hoyt explains the layers of the sea and what lives there, why and how each atmosphere creates and hosts it's own World. It tells in plain language how these creatures live, eat and reproduce and find each other in the pitch black. It's rare to find a book who's text and visual offerings are equally astounding and educational. I came away with a feeling that all I thought I knew about the sea and life on Earth had just been rewritten for me. This book is a genuine treat and a glimpse into all the possibilites of Life in our "not human" terms.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written book that explores the creatures that live in the dark deep in the ocean! This book is the closest you can get to the creepy creatures without getting wet.
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By Sharen Jahnke on October 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was in perfect condition and wrapped in clear plastic to keep it perfect during shipping. Prompt delivery and happy customer.
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