Deep-sea ecologist Koslow (a senior researcher at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) has both the breadth of knowledge and the keen insight to orchestrate this complex volume, an encyclopedic overview of 200 years' worth of oceanographic discoveries, research and resource exploitation. Organized chronologically, part one begins with ancient thinkers like Aristotle before profiling the work of pioneering oceanic naturalists of the early 19th century like Forbes, Milne-Edwards, Sars and (of course) Darwin. Part two explores 20th-century methods for tackling the mysteries of the deep sea, including spectacular discoveries of unknown species, hydrothermal hotsprings, methane seeps and whale falls. The third section considers the deep-reaching impact of humanity-not only through fishing, mining and dumping, but also global climate change-whose effects touch every region of the sea. This volume provides helpful information on any given sea-centric query and a thorough bibliography for finding additional material. Illustrations and figures range from reproductions of early drawings to high-resolution, in situ photographs, startling in beauty and detail. Informative, gorgeous and extremely well-written, this title may be the only marine-life reference you'll ever need.
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"Tony Koslow's The Silent Deep is an illustrated survey of deep-sea ecology, deeply informed by history and rendered in straightforward, careful prose....Koslow tells the stories of deep-sea pioneers like Wyville Thomson and William Beebe; tours us past hydrothermal vents, underwater mountains, and whale falls; and laments the destruction of deep-water habitats caused by mining, pollution, and bottom trawling....We know now that deep-sea environments are not the abiding oases one might imagine. Commercial fisheries have devastated the populations of deep-water fish like oreos or orange roughies, animals that can live more than 100 years and take 20 or 30 years to reach sexual maturity. The hunting of great whales has not only decimated whale populations, but also diminished the unique, startlingly rich habitats created when whales die and sink to the sea floor. Cold-water corals that grow perhaps an inch a year, in reefs up to 10,000 years old, are being wiped out by bottom trawlers. 'Today,' Koslow writes, 'virtually no part of the deep-sea fauna remains unaffected by man's activities.'"
(Anthony Doerr Boston Globe
"Textbook depth on all aspects of deep-sea science and conservation. . . . [An] exhaustively researched and referenced volume with a historical review stretching back to Socrates. . . . [A] cerebral introduction to the wonders of the abyss that could awaken many to the idea that, as Koslow puts it, exploration and protection of the deep sea 'is one of the great scientific voyages of discovery, one that humankind has only just embarked upon.' "
(Mark Schrope Nature
"The deep ocean was once thought to be a lifeless abyss. Within the past 50 years, however, improved exploration techniques have revealed, at depths below 200 meters, a habitat that's teeming with life. Koslow chronicles the history of deep-sea exploration, from a late 19th-century expedition to present-day, high-tech exploration of deep trenches. He explores the question of how so many species reside in a place that would seem hostile to living things. He also explains the science of tectonic movements and hydrothermal vents. Finally, Koslow analyzes the human impact on the deep sea. Its remoteness and vastness once made it seem the perfect dumping site for sewage, toxic chemicals, and even nuclear waste. However, such pollutants are building up in the deep water and in the animals that live there. He ends his book with proposals for protecting this vast, intriguing ecosystem."
"The Silent Deep...stands apart from other books about life in the abyss due to Tony Koslow’s thoughtful accounts of deep-water fisheries, mineral exploitation, habitat destruction, and contamination of the deep-ocean wilderness and his call for new strategies for managing ocean resources....Koslow succeeds in painting a picture of the deep sea as an environment with inherent and threatened value."
(Cindy Lee Van Dover Science
"This beautifully produced book tells an urgent story with clarity and grace. Koslow combines highly readable, intelligent prose with an extensive review of historical and current literature. . . . Since the health of the deep sea is inextricably linked to global sustainability, this important book should be read by everyone who cares about the Earth's future."
"The Silent Deep teach[es] us an important lesson. The ocean depths are not some hellish and distant zone, but are an element of our living planet which is connected in very intimate and immediate ways to ourselves. They are also our last frontier, where wonders innumerable await the next generation of brave bathynauts who choose to journey there. Let us hope that we do not destroy this amazing place before they get their chance.”
(Tim Flannery New York Review of Books
Outstanding Academic Title, 2007, from Choice Magazine
"Koslow gives a comprehensive history of deep-ocean science, as well as an overview of the main deep-sea ecosystems. When he writes of human impacts on the deep sea, Koslow deals a decisive blow to the notion that the deep sea can ever be immune from unregulated human activities. . . . The historical review of deep-sea biology is the most comprehensive I have read, and any reader will enjoy the signature discoveries and rapid Kuhnian paradigm shifts: the deep sea as a lifeless, dead zone (until 1860s), the deep sea as a reserve of archaic living fossils (1860s–90s), the deep sea rich in life to its greatest depths, but generally depauperate compared to shallow water (1890s–1960s), the deep sea rivalling tropical rainforests for biodiversity (1960s onwards), the deep sea as a habitat for incredible hydrothermal vent communities, independent of the sun (1977 onwards)."
(Adrian Glover Times Literary Supplement
“The Silent Deep is a call-to-arms, inspiring us with descriptions of the unusual adaptations and great diversity of deep-sea organisms, educating us about the colorful history of research in this difficult environment, and most importantly alerting us to threats that may rapidly deplete the oceans’ richness. . . . I hope ecologists and policy-makers will read Tony Koslow’s book, because it describes a world that is poorly known by the vast majority of scientists and remains unseen by most of humanity. The Silent Deep, along with the photo essays like the extraordinary coffee-table book The Deep, should draw the attention of a wider audience to this obscure realm. We need these books to convince policy maker and votes that this is a world worth knowing and protecting.”
(Robert Vrijenhoek Trends in Ecology and Evolution
"Scholarly in offering new insights to specialists, but it is meant to be read by nonscientists who are interested in learning something about the largest habitat on Earth. Koslow is to be commended for providing an important textbook and viewpoint that is highly recommended for anyone with a professional or personal interest in deep-sea ecosystems."
(Paul Snelgrove Quarterly Review of Biology
"An enjoyable, illustrated history of the exploration and scientific investigation of the deep ocean from the 19th century to the present, one that will appeal to lay people as well as to scientists. . . . The Silent Deep illuminates the deep sea--both its wealth of biological diversity and its vulnerability to anthropogenic assaults--and persuasively argues for protection of this vast portion of the biosphere. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the deep ocean."
(Kenneth L. Smith BioScience
"This book is detailed enough to be engaging for marine science professionals and straightforward enough to address a general audience. . . . A solid effort at creating an in depth background of the history and foundations of deep-sea ecology."
(Henry Ruhl Ecoscience
"[Koslow] offers fascinating discoveries, ecologies, and evolutionary adaptations simultaneously, but also enumerates the ways humankind has impacted the deep sea. . . . I know of no other volume of work that so readily describes human impacts on the deep ocean, including the rapid spread and damage of trawling, the buildup of humanity's toxic pollutants in deepwater life forms, the potential consequences of climate change and ocean acidification. . . . The public needs to know what is at stake."
(Timothy M. Shank Oceanography