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Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    I found "STUNG!" to be fascinating, informative and, f

    I found "STUNG!" to be fascinating, informative and, frankly, very sobering (the latter is no reflection on my review; it's the reality of our environment and ecosystems, as I concluded from Dr. Greshwin's book). Before reading this book, I did not fully appreciate the magnitude of the adverse impact that humankind has had, and, unfortunately, continues to have, on our precious oceans and its diverse marine life. I also did not appreciate that jellyfish, in their ever-growing numbers, results in a significant imbalance of the ecosystem; and, that one can view the presence of overabundant jellyfish blooms as an equivalent litmus test on the state of our oceans and, in fact, the future of life on our planet. Over the years, I have read books on this general topic by well-known and distinguished researchers, such as Stanford's Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb," and Caltech's Professor David L. Goodstein's "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil." Dr. Gershwin's book complements these works and provides a provocative and scholarly perspective on this important topic, and in fact, emerges as a very intuitive one, in terms of how we are destroying our wonderful planet. In particular, the focus is on our oceans in general, and, more specifically, on jellyfish and their blooms. Gershwin also considers the complex interrelationships of our terrestrial shortcomings (overconsumption, pollution, etc.) with those in our oceans (acidity, oxygen levels, overfishing, non-biodegradable plastics, etc.), which are manifested by changes in global temperature, atmospheric composition, etc. In essence, we are participants in an on-going laboratory experiment gone awry, owing to our reluctance to accept responsibility for our actions on the environment and ecosystems and to act accordingly. Over the course of our presence on Earth, humankind has been globally burying its collective head in the sands of our beaches instead of looking at our seas to realize the detrimental effects that we are imposing on all life forms, including ourselves. Sadly, our inactions have, over time, as Gershwin concludes, appear now to be irreversible and, presumably, past the tipping point, vis-a-vis the health and sustainability of our planet. Our only hope is, in the words of Gershwin, "to adapt." Dr. Gershwin's book is very readable, understandable and factual. It is peppered with myriad references (including many from scholarly, archival journals), along with a variety of interesting and informative quotes from experts on the field, sidebars (including simple kitchen experiments and refresher notes on relevant chemistry), tables, and a glossary. The level of discussion is ideally suited for the general public, students at all levels, the layperson as well as experts in the field. This comprehensive and extremely relevant treatment is a must-have for all to read, regardless of where one may reside on the spectrum of anthropic philosophy.

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