Six essays by respected scientists detailing the plight of America's coastlands as the activities of oil companies and developers erode the foundations of a complex, dynamic ecosystem. Orrin H. Pilkey and Mark Evans (both of Duke) examine barrier islands: rising sea levels cause such islands to migrate shoreward, they note; and any development that attempts to anchor them will result in ""New Jerseyization,"" or constantly renewed defenses and an end to the island as a natural, viable entity. Robert Howarth (Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole) scrutinizes the ill-effects of oil pollution on coastal habitats; it is dangerously wrong, he stresses, to think that an oil slick, once dispersed, is neutralized. Neither are the effects of chronic low-level pollution well understood--a particular hazard as the oil companies move in on Georges Bank, one of the world's most productive fisheries. Delving further into oil pollution, Howard L. Sanders and Carol Jones (both of WOods Hole Oceanographic Institute) show how oil companies sponsor private research, and then--without exposing the data to critical review--use the Findings to discredit reputable scientists and influence government policy. Douglas C. Chapman (Univ. of Washington), on marine mammals, demonstrates that the problem is no longer extinction by hunting but destruction of natural habitats. Daniel W. Anderson and Franklin Gress (both Univ. of Calif., Davis) study the California brown pelican as a sensitive indicator of offshore pollution, and argue for a holistic approach to coastal technology; Eugene P. Odum (Univ. of Georgia), continuing the discussion, focuses on coastal wetlands which, like all coastlands, must be evaluated in their wide context, not just in terms of immediate market value. An estimable book, with information to learn from and act upon--prefaced, for wide readership, with a substantive introduction by Anne Simon (The Thin Edge, 1978) and a bittersweet recollection of lost Long Island by John N. Cole (Striper, 1978).