Seasick: Ocean Change and the Extinction of Life on Earth

Hardcover | October 15, 2009

byAlanna Mitchell

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We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earth’s temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole ocean system, as we are now, life as we know it is threatened.

In Seasick, veteran science journalist Alanna Mitchell dives beneath the surface of the world’s oceans to give readers a sense of how this watery realm can be managed and preserved, and with it life on earth. Each chapter features a different group of researchers who introduce readers to the importance of ocean currents, the building of coral structures, or the effects of acidification. With Mitchell at the helm, readers submerge 3,000 feet to gather sea sponges that may contribute to cancer care, see firsthand the lava lamp–like dead zone covering 17,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, and witness the simultaneous spawning of corals under a full moon in Panama.

The first book to look at the planetary environmental crisis through the lens of the global ocean, Seasick takes the reader on an emotional journey through a hidden realm of the planet and urges conservation and reverence for the fount from which all life on earth sprang.

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We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earth’s temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole oce...

Alanna Mitchell spent fourteen years as a writer covering science and the environment at the Globe and Mail. She is the author of Dancing at the Dead Sea: Tracking the World’s Environmental Hotspots, also published by the University of Chicago Press. In 2010, Mitchell received the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Envir...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:October 15, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226532585

ISBN - 13:9780226532585

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue

1       The last best place on earth 
         Great Barrier Reef

2       Reading the vital signs: Oxygen   

         Gulf of Mexico

3       Reading the vital signs: pH 

         Puerto Rico

4       Reading the vital signs: Metabolism 

         Plymouth, England

5       Reading the vital signs: Fecundity     

         Panama

6       Reading the vital signs: Life force      

         Halifax, Canada

7       Reading the vital signs: Medical history  

         Spain

8       Reading the vital sign that is China     

         Haikou City

9       Reading the vital signs: Adaptability  

         Zanzibar

10     Finding hope 

         The Dry Tortugas

         Epilogue: A call for wisdom  

         Acknowledgments 

         Selected bibliography

         Index   

Editorial Reviews

Seasick is a travelog of sorts in which Mitchell takes her readers around the world to investigate the signs and causes of an unhealthy ocean…For many of us, the stories told in this book will not be new. But those stories are well worth listening to agaig, if only to remind ourselves to ask and be able to answer the question, ‘So what?’”—Kiho Kim, Oceanography