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Book Lists

More than 70 percent of our planet’s surface is covered by the oceans. Our ocean provides countless benefits to the planet and all the creatures that live here. 

Here in New Jersey we are especially reminded of the vastness and majesty of our oceans in the summer months, when we spend time at the beach, walk along or swim in the ocean, enjoy surfing and boating, or even when we just sit silently witnessing the magical movement and sound of the ocean waves.

Our oceans face many threats caused by human activity, like the onslaught of ocean trash, coastal pollution, overfishing, coral reefs destruction, climate change and ocean acidification.  We need to do much more to protect and conserve this natural resource and the wildlife and ecosystems that thrive beneath the waves and on the coasts.

Dive into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves with our list of nonfiction books available with your Livingston Library card, that explore the mysteries, wonders, and critical issues surrounding Earth’s oceans.

atlas disappearing places

The Atlas of Disappearing Places : Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis by Christina Conklin

Our planet is in peril. Seas are rising, oceans are acidifying, ice is melting, coasts are flooding, species are dying, and communities are faltering. Despite these dire circumstances, most of us don’t have a clear sense of how the interconnected crises in our ocean are affecting the climate system, food webs, coastal cities, and biodiversity, and which solutions can help us co-create a better future.

The Bathysphere Book : Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths by Bradley Fox

A gorgeous account of William Beebe’s 1934 Bathysphere expedition, the first-ever deep-sea voyage to the otherworldly environment 3,024 feet below sea level.

Blue Machine : How the Ocean Works by Helen Czerski

All of Earth’s oceans, from the equator to the poles, are a single engine powered by sunlight, driving huge flows of energy, water, life, and raw materials. Here, physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski illustrates the mechanisms behind this defining feature of our planet, voyaging from the depths of the ocean floor to tropical coral reefs, estuaries that feed into shallow coastal seas, and Arctic ice floes. Through stories of history, culture, and animals, she explains how water temperature, salinity, gravity, and the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates all interact in a complex dance, supporting life at the smallest scale–plankton–and the largest–giant sea turtles, whales, humankind.

The Brilliant Abyss : Exploring the Majestic Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean and the Looming Threat That Imperils It by Helen Scales

A marine biologist vividly brings alive the extraordinary ecosystem of the deep ocean–a realm about which we know less than we do about the Moon–and shows how protecting rather than exploiting it will benefit mankind.

The Curious World of Seahorses : The Life and Lore of a Marine Marvel by Till Hein

In this entertaining and informative book, science writer Hein shares the most tantalizing findings from the world of seahorses, opening up some of the secrets of these magical creatures of the sea. He reveals their intriguing biological features, such as their unique prehensile tails, their fins, and their lack of a stomach (seahorses only have intestines!). He speaks to experts about the fossil record of prehistoric seahorses, and examines their unique hunting strategy involving suction through their tubular (and toothless) snout. But the most unique aspect of the seahorses is their reproductive cycle, as it is the male of the species who becomes pregnant.

deepest map

The Deepest Map : The High-Stakes Race to Chart the World’s Oceans by Laura Tretheway

The dramatic and action-packed story of the last mysterious place on earth–the world’s seafloor–and the deep-sea divers, ocean mappers, marine biologists, entrepreneurs, and adventurers involved in the historic push to chart it, as well as the opportunities, challenges, and perils this exploration holds now and for the future.

Eloquence of the Sardine : Extraordinary Encounters Beneath the Sea by Bill Francois

Written by a marine scientist (and winner of French eloquence competitions), this work of narrative non-fiction blends Bill François’ personal story with that of sea creatures to create an original and exciting work. In poetic prose, he describes his unlikely journey from being a Parisian child, afraid of the water and crippled by self-consciousness, to an eloquent and self-assured young man with a passion for the ocean and all who inhabit it. In doing so, he tells the stories of sardines, anchovies, eels, suckerfish, and whales (to name a few), and demystifies these creatures’ fascinating conversations. 

Future Sea : How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans by Deborah Rowan Wright

Independent researcher and ocean advocate Wright offers an information-packed and carefully crafted review of challenges to the life and health of oceans.  Rather than continue to focus on discrete, geographically bounded bodies of water, Wright urges a Plan Sea, which reimagines the oceans as the continuous ecosystem it is, not disconnected buckets of salt and plankton. 

How Far the Light Reaches : A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler

Imbler profiles ten of the ocean’s strangest creatures, drawing astonishing connections between their lives and ours and illuminating wondrous models of survival, adaptation, identity, sex, and care on our faltering planet.

Kings of Their Own Ocean : Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas by Karen Pinchin

This is a tale of human obsession, one intrepid tuna, the dedicated fisherman who caught and set her free, the promises and limits of ocean science, and the big truth of how our insatiable appetite for bluefin transformed a cottage industry into a global dilemma.

many things under a rock

Many Things Under a Rock: The Mysteries of Octopuses by David Scheel

Of all the creatures of the deep blue, none is as captivating as the octopus. Marine biologist Scheel investigates four major mysteries about these elusive beings. How can we study an animal with perfect camouflage and secretive habitats? How does a soft and boneless creature defeat sharks and eels, while thriving as a predator of the most heavily armored animals in the sea? How do octopus bodies work? And how does a solitary animal form friendships, entice mates, and outwit rivals?

The Sea Trilogy : Under the Sea-Wind ; The Sea Around Us ; The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson

Pioneering environmentalist Carson explores the wonders of the Earth’s oceans in these classics of American science and nature writing. At a moment when overfishing, pollution, and global warming are causing catastrophic changes to marine environments worldwide, Carson’s lyrically detailed accounts of these environments offer a timely reminder of their beauty, fragility, and immense consequence for human life.

Sing Like Fish: How Sound Rules Life Under Water by Amorina Kingdon

For centuries, humans ignored sound in the “silent world” of the ocean, assuming that what we couldn’t perceive, didn’t exist. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. Marine scientists now have the technology to record and study the complex interplay of the myriad sounds in the sea.  Kingdon synthesizes historical discoveries with the latest scientific research in a clear and compelling portrait of this sonic undersea world. 

The Sound of the Sea : Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans by Cynthia Barnett

A compelling history of seashells and the animals that make them, revealing what they have to tell us about nature, our changing oceans, and ourselves.  Barnett blends cultural history and science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them.

The Underworld : Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean by Susan Casey

An awe-inspiring portrait of the mysterious world beneath the waves, and the men and women who seek to uncover its secrets.  Casey takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of deep-sea exploration, from the myths and legends of the ancient world to storied shipwrecks we can now reach on the bottom, to the first intrepid bathysphere pilots, to the scientists who are just beginning to understand the mind-blowing complexity and ecological importance of the quadrillions of creatures who live in realms long thought to be devoid of life. Throughout this journey, she learned how vital the deep is to the future of the planet, and how urgent it is that we understand it in a time of increasing threats from climate change, industrial fishing, pollution, and the mining companies that are also exploring its depths. 

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

 

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22 July 2024
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