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Florida's Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber Paperback – April 2, 2007
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About the Author
Blair Witherington is a research scientist with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from UCF and a doctorate in zoology from UF. Dawn Witherington is a graphic designer and illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale.
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I really love that this book has photos and explanations of the things curious people wonder about but don't know how to ask, things no other book would bother to talk about: beach junk. There is a whole section on the random ways that people affect oceans and beaches, and the way the ocean affects those things people leave behind. So many times I see pieces of unidentified "stuff" on the beach, and this helped put names to it, and explained how these things affect our environment (and how the ocean changes them - like for instance sea glass). Every kind of weird or stupid question you might be tempted to ask about how life on the shore works is answered in this book, and it even covers things you might not expect, like invasive species found in Florida (that also happen to affect the beach). It's also a really fun read for a guide book, and really attractive and interesting to thumb through. I own thousands of books, and this is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying I've bought. It is not a definitive volume like a textbook might be, but it is really comprehensive and goes above and beyond for what it is supposed to be. And when you are too tired to read any of the information, the photos are nice to flip through as you dream away about being by the sea. Every region of this country's shorelines should have a version of this book made for it - I would bet each distinct area would be really fascinating if handled in this same fun and thorough manner.
I've lived along coasts all my life. I grew up peering into the tidepools of the Pacific, looking over the edge of docks, and wandering along the West Coast's beaches from San Diego to the San Juans. I've spent the last 30 years on the Gulf Coast with visits to the southern Atlantic beaches. Beachcombing is one of my great joys, and my shelves are full of guides to flora and fauna. When the Witherington's guide arrived yesterday, I sat down with it...and by the end of the evening, I'd read it cover to cover. I'll be tucking it in my beach bag, and using it as a constant companion. It's just that good. What sets this guide apart from others is its clear organization, graphic clarity, conversational tone, and concise information-packed descriptions.
If you live in Florida and love the beach, buy this book. You will learn about all the forces that shape the beach environment, from tides and weather to human incursions. AND you'll find a clearly illustrated comprehensive guide to virtually everything you could discover washed up in, on or near the sand, along the inner and outer coasts. If you've ever picked up a bit of flotsam, or stooped over a mysterious blob on the beach, and wondered, "What is this?", this guide will tell you. Dr. Witherington's background in biology zoology is apparent, as he provides fascinating insights in every entry. Ms. Witherington's design and illustrations make it a visual feast.
This is the second edition. I hope the Witheringtons will continue to revise and update this gem. Perhaps future editions will tell us about the long term effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and give us more beach quests for Northwest Florida.
Most recent customer reviews
also some plant life.... never seen another book as good as this one!