Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures And Why They Matter

Paperback | April 15, 2012

byEllen Prager

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When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten.

With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses, Prager not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. And while these animals make for some jaw-dropping stories—witness the sea cucumber, which ejects its own intestines to confuse predators, or the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime—there’s far more to Prager’s account than her ever-entertaining anecdotes: again and again, she illustrates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research, and popular culture.  

Written with a diver’s love of the ocean, a novelist’s skill at storytelling, and a scientist’s deep knowledge, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime enchants as it educates, enthralling us with the wealth of life in the sea—and reminding us of the need to protect it. 

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When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten.With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, ...

Ellen Prager, a marine scientist, was formerly the chief scientist at the world’s only undersea research station, Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys. She is the author of several books, including Chasing Science at Sea, which is also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:April 15, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226678768

ISBN - 13:9780226678764

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

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

7. X-Games

8. Radical Living

9. Danger Looms

10. The Good News

11. How You Can Help


Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Sponsors and Partnering Organizations

Editorial Reviews

"Prager plumbs the depths for strange or marvelous organisms, first wowing us with their weirdness and then reeling us in with their worth--be it culinary, medicinal, biotechnological, or recreational. Her exuberant writing reveals a personal enthrallment with her protagonists. She’s the perfect guide for an undersea exploration."