THE SARGASSO SEA by John & Mildred Teal


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A rich, attractive study of a complex natural phenomenon--that""desert"" of eddying sea in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Sargasso Sea is distinguished, among other factors, by its water (rather than land) boundaries; the astonishing variety of creatures which live on its surface, in its mid-depths and bottom; and the now-diminishing flotillas of the rootless weed Sargassum which gave the sea its name. The range of animal life is wide both in size and sophistication--from single-celled entities ten microns in length to the blue whales. The authors discuss many of the adaptive structures and processes of the plants and animals, including peculiarities of reproduction, predation, locomotion and migration--the latter encompassing the daily ""vertical"" trips of tiny organisms as well as the incredible journeys of Sargasso eels. One high point of the study is the journal of John Teal, written as he descended 1740 meters down to the bottom of the sea, where he noted not only creatures like ""brittle stars moving. . . at a sort of gallop"" but also a blue dinner plate. (The authors sadly note the presence of pollution in the Sargasso.) A total portrait--including data on winds, light, heat, water movement, etc.--of a myth-surrounded and still fascinating sea.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1975
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown