Chasing Science at Sea
Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts
With passion and wit, well-known marine scientist Ellen Prager shares her stories as well as those of her colleagues, revealing that in the field ingenuity and a good sense of humor are as essential as water, sunblock, and GPS. Serendipity is invaluable, and while collecting data is the goal, sometimes just getting back to shore means success. But despite the physical hardship and emotional duress that come with the work, optimism and adventure prompt a particularly hardy species of scientist to return again and again to the sea.
Filled with firsthand accounts of the challenges and triumphs of dealing with the extreme forces of nature and the unpredictable world of the ocean, Chasing Science at Sea is a unique glimpse below the water line at what it is like and why it is important to study, explore, and spend time in one of our planet’s most fascinating and foreign environments.
“‘Going into the field is an exciting, challenging, and inspiring part of doing ocean science; it is also essential,’ writes Prager, currently chief scientist of the undersea research station Aquarius Reef Base. Using anecdotes from colleagues and from her own career, she succeeds in showing the reader that doing science can be both fun and thrilling, especially when it involves work in and on the ocean. She also reminds us that field research is important to doing good science and that learning more about the world’s oceans is essential to our future.”
“In Chasing Science at Sea, Ellen Prager tells amazing stories about her experiences on the water, as well as those of other researchers who have dared face its known and unknown dangers. Through these tales, and from the passion with which she writes about the creatures of the sea, the reader will understand how important the oceans are to our lives.”
“Dr. Prager’s book captures the thrilling personal and professional experiences of being at sea and observing how the ocean works firsthand. Oceanography is a contact science, so it is essential to be out there to understand what is going on in this fast-changing, dynamic environment. Her collection of experiences does an excellent job visualizing the excitement of ocean exploration and discovery. It brought back many fond memories and is just delightful to read.”
"Prager, chief scientist of the world's only undersea station, in Florida, presents a well-organized introduction to marine science enlivened by the story of her own personal path into the profession. Through dozens of anecdotes of wave scientists, marine geologists, tsunami researchers, underwater archaeologists, and many others, Prager casually reveals the vast number and variety of interests pursued in the sea. She speaks to one expert about tumor viruses affecting undersea creatures and another whose specialty is bioluminescence. Everyone has a story of discovery to share, and Prager's ability to zero in on astonishing facts makes for an enormously appealing book. The heavy emphasis on fieldwork allows scientists to stress the more exciting aspects of the professions (from watching whale sharks feed to skirting the edges of a hurricane). As an unorthodox handbook for would-be ocean scientists, this title is invaluable. Pair it with William Sargent's Writing Naturally (2006) to reveal the way to a personally fulfilling scientific career."
A Note on the Title
1. The Invisible Crowd
2. Mega-Slime, Seduction, and Shape-Shifting
3. Let’s Talk Snails
4. The Riddle of the Reef
5. Armed and Dangerous
6. Cabinet of Curiosities
8. Radical Living
9. Danger Looms
10. The Good News
11. How You Can Help
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