SECRETS OF THE DEEP by Stephen Spotte


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Considering the number of similarly titled books at this level, it's hard to believe that the sea has any secrets left; what's new here is chiefly the arrangement. The first half of the book, titled ""Adaptation,"" consists of twenty short sketches (none more than two pages long) on such features as venom, protective coloration, pheromones, luminescence, etc., and the second, in similar bits, surveys life in different aquatic ecosystems--shallow reefs, grassy flats, fresh water ponds, etc.--in the tropic, temperate, and polar zones. This has advantages over the more common species-by-species survey, but Spotte says too little about each topic to satisfy those who can handle his vocabulary, and what he does say is closer to personal impressions than to systematic introduction. (The section on ""Language and Intelligence"" is devoted to debunking claims of the dolphin's high I.Q., one on ""Pollution"" simply describes a tern killed by an oil slick, and, in part two, ""Offshore Waters"" is a lecture on over-fishing, and ""Rocky Coastlines"" is all about the extinction of the auk.) An oddity--curious, but not fitted for survival.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1976
Publisher: Scribners