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A Scientific American Reader

Covering nearly three-quarters of our planet, the world’s oceans are a vast and unique ecosystem from which all life on Earth originated. But each year the marine realm is more susceptible to harm by careless exploitation, and as demands for food, waste disposal, transport, and travel increase, the fate of the world’s oceans hangs in the balance. This timely guide offers the nonscientist an opportunity to appreciate the importance of this expansive—and fragile—frontier.

With selections chosen for their value in identifying the multiple uses of oceans, their resources, and the hurdles they face as the world’s population continues to expand and consume their resources at a staggering rate, Oceans collects more than thirty thematically arranged articles from the past decade, including recent pieces written in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. The bookfeatures articles that investigate the origins of the world’s oceans, the diversity of life in the water, the state of global fisheries, the dangers of natural disasters, and the perils oceans face, whether induced by nature or by humans.

With breadth of topics as wide as the ocean is deep, this Scientific American reader will engage general readers interested in the evolution, ecology, and conservation of the oceanic ecosystem and can be used in courses on introductory oceanography, environmental science, and marine biology.

Table of Contents

Sculpting the Earth from the Inside Out
            Michael Gurnis
Large Igneous Provinces
            Millard F. Coffin and Olav Eldholm
Life’s Rocky Start
            Robert M. Hazen
When Methane Made Climate
            James F. Kasting
Snowball Earth
            Paul F. Hoffman and Daniel P. Schrag
Looking for Life below the Bottom
            Sarah Simpson
Marine Life
Life in the Ocean
            James W. Nybakken and Steven K. Webster
The Ocean’s Invisible Forest
            Paul G. Falkowski
Light in the Ocean’s Midwaters
            Bruce H. Robison
            Thomas J. O’shea
Secrets of the Slime Hag
            Frederic H. Martini
Why Are Reef Fish So Colorful?
            Justin Marshall
Counting the Last Fish
            Daniel Pauly and Reg Watson
The World’s Imperiled Fish
            Carl Safina
Shrimp Aquaculture and the Environment
            Claude E. Boyd and Jason W. Clay
The Evolution of Ocean Law
            Jon L. Jacobson and Alison Rieser
Fishy Business
            Sarah Simpson
Sharks Mean Business
            R. Charles Anderson
Fishing the “Zone” in Sri Lanka
            Anton Nonis
Dangerous Waters
Giant Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest
            Roy D. Hyndman
            Frank I. González
The Threat of Silent Earthquakes
            Peter Cerville
The Coming Climate
            Thomas R. Karl, Neville Nicholls and Jonathan Gregory
Tsunami: Wave of Change
            Eric L. Geist, Vasily V. Titov and Costas E. Synolakis
The Oceans in Peril
Enriching the Sea to Death
            Scott W. Nixon
Red Tides
            Donald M. Anderson
Natural Oil Spills
            Ian R. MacDonald
Flammable Ice
            Erwin Suess, Gerhard Bohrmann, Jens Greinert and Erwin Lausch
Can We Bury Global Warming?
            Robert H. Socolow
Chaotic Climate
            Wallace S. Broecker
Defusing the Global Warming Time Bomb
            James Hansen
Meltdown in the North
            Matthew Sturm, Donald K. Perovich and Mark C. Serreze

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