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Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World

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Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever. Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever. Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creatures’ vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents. Christian Sardet’s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with plankton’s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artists’ imaginations. While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.


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Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever. Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever. Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creatures’ vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents. Christian Sardet’s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with plankton’s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artists’ imaginations. While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.

30 review for Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Fidler

    Do not be lulled into complacency by the many--and exquisitely executed--photographs in the book. Christian Sardet refuses to water down the information, using scientific names, taxonomic relations, and complex terminology throughout "Plankton." And I'm glad he does. While including hints (like 'unfertilized egg' in a paragraphs dominated by a discussion of oocyte fertilization in hermaphrodite chaetognaths, or arrow worms), it is apparent that Sardet loves his work enough to appreciate the clar Do not be lulled into complacency by the many--and exquisitely executed--photographs in the book. Christian Sardet refuses to water down the information, using scientific names, taxonomic relations, and complex terminology throughout "Plankton." And I'm glad he does. While including hints (like 'unfertilized egg' in a paragraphs dominated by a discussion of oocyte fertilization in hermaphrodite chaetognaths, or arrow worms), it is apparent that Sardet loves his work enough to appreciate the clarity of description achieved by using specialized language developed in science. "Plankton" includes one of the best comparisons of historical "tree of life" diagrams I've come across, and numerous little facts that kept my mind happily engaged with a new field. Did you know that plankton produce as much Oxygen as all the land plants, and that many actually break down greenhouse gases? Or this gem: the monster in Alien was inspired by an amphipod crustacean called Phronima. (Seriously, these guys are the super-stuff of horror. You've gotta look at one of the only "moms" of crustaceans). I thank Sardet for his research and passion. I truly enjoyed this introductory text to the microscopic beauty found in the oceans!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Simon Kirkendall

    kinda lovely

  3. 4 out of 5

    Last Ranger

    Constellations in the Sea: Ever since humans first took to the sea we have been intrigued and mystified by the countless creatures that often appeared from the depths below. Among the most enigmatic and mysterious were the glowing lights that often danced in the waves and followed our boats, yet eluded our groping hands. Were these angry Gods that we needed to appease, or gentle spirits that filled our nets and guided us home at night? No one knew. The true identity of these dancing sprites had t Constellations in the Sea: Ever since humans first took to the sea we have been intrigued and mystified by the countless creatures that often appeared from the depths below. Among the most enigmatic and mysterious were the glowing lights that often danced in the waves and followed our boats, yet eluded our groping hands. Were these angry Gods that we needed to appease, or gentle spirits that filled our nets and guided us home at night? No one knew. The true identity of these dancing sprites had to await the invention of a new technology: the microscope. In the 1850s German Zoologist Victor Hensen coined the term plankton and a new science was launched. Now, In his breathtaking coffee table book "Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World" French Biologist/author Christian Sardet gives us a stunning testament to the endless variety in Nature and to the power and creativity of Natural Selection. Just flipping through this over sized volume is a delight, filled to overflowing with highly detailed micro-photos, the casual reader is introduced to a wondrous realm of fantastic creatures that seem alien to our wondering eyes. Using a wide range of imaging technology coupled with top of line cameras and lenses the contributors provide a sweeping survey of planktonic life. Plankton, it turns out, are a collection of drifting organisms from microscopic bacteria, archaea, phytoplankton to various multicellular life forms along with the embryos and larvae of much larger creatures. All these organisms live together in ecological harmony and provide the Bases for the Food Chain. Sardet delves into the biology, evolution and life styles of these exotic living things. Although this is not a Biology text-book it does go into some detail when explaining these complex life styles. Be prepared for Latinized Scientific Names, anatomical nomenclature and ecological complexities. The text is more in the order of essays and picture captions that you can read or not, depending on how deep you want to get into the subject. For the Biology geeks, like me, the text and accompanying Bibliography are a ticket to additional reading sources. For a lot of readers it's the pictures that are the main attraction and this book doesn't skimp on that front. In addition to digital cameras and lenses some of the images are from more obscure sources; the Scanning Electron Microscope provided several shots, Confocal Microcopy is also represented with the stunner on page 146. The Extreme close-ups are over the top, showing internal organs like eyes, gills and pigment cells. Biological art is also on display with a History of Life Chart and several different Trees of Life including Darwin's famous "I think" skech. Archival Art by the 19th century scientific illustrator Ernst Haeckel provides a look back at planktonic research. There were also some candid shots that caught my eye; the ocean sunfish "Mola mola" feeding on a "Velella" Hydrozoa, a baleen whale feeding on a plankton bloom and, the icing on the cake, a scenic shot of the Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Australia providing a look back into Deep Time. This is another picture book that needs to be experienced in the large format print edition for the full effect of these stunning images. I highly recommend it to anyone turned on by the Natural World and by nature photography in general. Last Ranger

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karel Baloun

    Stunning art. Amazing. These tiny creatures largely unknown, create more than half of the Earth's photosynthesized oxygen and sequester more carbon dioxide than land plants. Many are endangered due to ocean acidification and temperature changes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonas Gehrlein

    The writing is very thin and the only reason to read the book are the pictures of different planktonic species especially the pictures of diatoms and other microscopic plankton are beautiful and more people need to see how these things look that you can`t see The writing is very thin and the only reason to read the book are the pictures of different planktonic species especially the pictures of diatoms and other microscopic plankton are beautiful and more people need to see how these things look that you can`t see

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Plankton perform nearly half of the photosynthesis and oxygen production on earth. This book explores the weird, wondrous world of plankton. Beautiful photos give a up-close view of these organisms that are often too tiny to behold with the naked eye.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Tebbs

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Jacqueline Bond

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gill

  10. 5 out of 5

    Colin

  11. 4 out of 5

    JoJo

  12. 5 out of 5

    V

  13. 5 out of 5

    James Kennedy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alana

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Petersen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yolimar Rivera Vazquez

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Dickman

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steve S Nelson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judah Jamison

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laetitia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ranita

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ge0ra

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rafael

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chalee

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte R.S.

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