Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World

Hardcover | June 5, 2015

byChristian Sardet

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Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever.

Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creatures’ vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents.

Christian Sardet’s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with plankton’s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artists’ imaginations.

While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.

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From the Publisher

Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever. Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrill...

Christian Sardet is cofounder and emeritus research director of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the Marine Station of Villefranche-sur-mer, part of the Centre National de la recherche scientifique and Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He is also cofounder and scientific coordinator of the Tara Oceans Expedition, a global voy...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 12.5 × 9.75 × 1 inPublished:June 5, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022618871X

ISBN - 13:9780226188713

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Table of Contents

Prologue, by Mark Ohman
Introduction. Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World
What Are Plankton?
Plankton and Man
The Origins: Life Shapes the Planet
Explosions, Extinctions, and Evolution of Life in the Ocean
A Chronological History of the Planet and the Tree of Life
Taxonomy and Phylogeny: Hierarchical Categorizations
Organisms of All Sizes, with Different Roles and Behavior
Collecting and Identifying Plankton, Then and Now
Plankton of the World           
Villefranche-sur-Mer, France: A Bay Famous for Its Plankton
Between Ecuador and Galapagos: Tara Oceans Expedition
South Carolina, United States: Salt Marsh Estuaries
Izu Peninsula and Shimoda, Japan: Autumn Plankton
Unicellular Creatures: From the Origins of Life
Bacteria, Archaea, and Viruses: Invisible but Omnipresent
Unicellular Protists: Precursors of Plants and Animals
Phytoplankton
Coccolithophores and Foraminifera: Limestone Architects
Diatoms and Dinoflagellates: Silicate or Cellulose Houses
Radiolarians: Polycystines and Acantharians: Symbiosis at the Ocean Surface
Ciliates, Tintinnids, and Choanoflagellates: Motility and Multicellularity
Ctenophores and Cnidarians: Ancestral Forms
Ctenophores: Carnivorous Comb Jellies
Jellyfish: Equipped to Survive
Siphonophores: The Longest Animals in the World
Velella, Porpita, and Physalia: Planktonic Sailors
Crustaceans and Mollusks: Champions of Diversity
Crustacean Larvae: Molting and Metamorphosis
Copepods to Amphipods: Variations on a Theme
Phronima: Monster in a Barrel
Pteropods and Heteropods: Mollusks That Swim with Their Feet
Cephalopods and Nudibranchs: Beautiful Colors and Camouflage
Worms and Tadpoles: Arrows, Tubes, and Nets
Chaetognaths: Arrows in the Oceans
Polychaete Annelids: Worms in the Sea
Salps, Doliolids, and Pyrosomes: Highly Evolved Gelatinous Animals
Larvaceans: Tadpoles That Live in a Net
Embryos and Larvae
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Bibliography, Websites
Credits
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Gorgeously illustrated and fascinating."