Encyclopedia of the Aquatic World

Encyclopedia of the Aquatic World

by Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff

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The fascinating world of water is explored in the 11 volumes of this encyclopedia for young adults. The reference covers a wide range of subjects, including not only the vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants found in water, but the human activities associated with it. Among the topics are algae, aquaculture, barnacle, bug, commerce and industry, flowering plant,… See more details below


The fascinating world of water is explored in the 11 volumes of this encyclopedia for young adults. The reference covers a wide range of subjects, including not only the vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants found in water, but the human activities associated with it. Among the topics are algae, aquaculture, barnacle, bug, commerce and industry, flowering plant, flying fish, marine iguana, piranha, sea cucumber, starfish, wetland, and worm. Each entry includes inset boxes with key facts, the creature's classification, essential issues, its family tree, and discussion of its habitat and survival. Each volume is heavily illustrated with color plates of excellent quality. Volume 11 contains several indexes and a variety of resources, including a glossary, list of organizations, places to go, an essay on the variety of aquatic life, and descriptions of the main elements of lakes and oceans. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Today's middle or high school student, when assigned a topic for science class of, say, toothed whales or sea stars would automatically go to the nearest computer, type in her or his subject for internet search, then research and write from there. In the case of this extraordinary encyclopedia set, the student would be doing herself or himself a terrible disfavor. Computer printouts may have the same facts, but this set has so much more: the sheer wonder of diversity, adaptability and beauty of aquatic life. "The variety of aquatic life in the waters of the world is awesome," writes Dr. Robert Stickney, Director of the Texas Sea Grant Program at Texas A&M University, in his introduction. So how does the encyclopedia deal with the vastness of aquatic life, albeit in eleven volumes? The articles were written by experts and the list of consultants is long. The volumes not only focus on life in the oceans, but all aquatic environments—lakes, rivers, ponds, even temporary ponds, which may spring up during a rainy spring, only to dry up until the next wet season. The set includes creatures which live around water, like muskrats, alligators or toads, as well as those which spend many but not all of their life stages in water, like mosquitoes. Each article is color coded: blue for fish, aqua for other vertebrates such as mammals and birds, orange for invertebrates, green for plants or microorganisms. Chapters are arranged alphabetically by commonly used English names—for example, anglerfish, not Lophiiformes. Every article includes classification, profile (features shared by a family group, the variety within the group and how it interacts with other organisms), family tree, anatomy,habitat, food and feeding, reproduction, life cycle and behaviors, with remarkable illustrations by Wildlife Art that show a sequence of actions. Chapters such as "Ocean and Sea" give overviews of large habitats. Additional gems include articles on such subjects as oceanography, biodiversity or aquariums and aquatic theme parks. Obviously, the set has an environmental slant, describing how human activities affect the aquatic world. Since this review couldn't cover even all the subjects in the table of contents, I chose to concentrate on three offerings. One was sea turtles with which I was familiar; two I knew little about—beavers and water bugs. Color-coded in aqua, sea turtles are part of the class Reptilia; seven or eight species exist. A boxed aside, "Key Facts," stated that the Kemps-Ridley, the most recently discovered, was named for the fisher that brought it to the attention of naturalists. Green turtles, it states, are so named because of the color of their fat when cooked. And, large numbers of Ridleys nest together in the same night during an event called an arribada, Spanish for "arrival." Sea turtles spend their whole lives at sea; scientists are still trying to discover where. Only the female leaves the water when she comes ashore to lay eggs; that is when she is most vulnerable to enemies. Each species has its favored food yet feeds quickly to get back to the surface to breathe. Although sea turtles are protected by international law, they are on the brink of extinction. Conservationists and scientists, challenged to halt the decline, have developed such devices as TEDS—turtle excluder devices—to prevent turtles from drowning in fishing nets. The text is accompanied by colorful photos, many underwater, as well as a finely drawn two-page spread on the anatomy of a hawksbill. Another remarkable illustration is of hatchlings and their race to the sea to begin a life so hazardous that as few as one in ten thousand may grow to be a breeding adult. The world of beavers and their relatives may be less doleful, but these semi-aquatic rodents are especially interesting since they down trees that dam rivers as well as build lodges that impact their watery neighborhoods. Much like humankind, these rodents rearrange the environment to suit themselves. With their streamlined shape, waterproof fur, webbed back feet and the ability to shut off their throats and thus swim with mouths open to carry branches underwater without drowning, they excel as swimmers. But their movements on land make them slow and vulnerable, so they rarely leave the water. Flooding the land enables them to construct watery tunnels to reach supplies that are now convenient. Socially, beavers are unique, living in extended, age-dominant families. According to the "Key Facts" box, the hunting of beavers for their fur once decimated the population on a scale rivaling the slaughter of the North American Bison. The chapter describes three beaver cousins. Muskrats also have desirable pelts, build watery tunnels and are well-adapted to aquatic life. Water voles are different than land voles in that they have swimming fringe on their hind feet. Nutrias, introduced into North America for their fur, can become pests since their tunneling can damage drainage systems. This chapter includes a finely-drawn picture of the anatomy of the American beaver, as well as beavers building a dam and lodge. Photo illustrations are, as usual, outstanding. Water bugs are as varied as they are numerous. Numbering 3200 species, they live on, near or under water. Some swim and some crawl; some even row. Their eggs don't float since they are anchored onto submerged stones, plants, crayfish or even each other. If you have ever wondered how water bugs seemingly walk on water, a boxed aside in this chapter explains surface tension. Drawings in this chapter include the anatomy of a common water strider as well as how a water scorpion ambushes and attacks a tadpole, uses its body enzymes to dissolve the hapless tadpole's insides, then sucks out lunch. Photo illustrations are remarkable. Text includes information on water bug communication, explaining how many use water ripples to contact mates or rivals. Well done! If common wisdom says that indexes are necessary but boring additions to encyclopedia sets, this index will cause you to think again. Beginning with a long, well-illustrated article on the variety of aquatic life, the index includes a twelve page glossary, resources including a bibliography, internet sites, places to visit such as aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries, marine laboratories, aquatic and national parks. There is also an easy-to-understand evolutionary tree. Then there are the indexes themselves, of scientific names, biological classifications, places, behaviors, and finally a comprehensive index that takes up half of the volume. The Encyclopedia of the Aquatic World is so attractive, packed with information, finely written and lavishly illustrated that even the casual reader will become immersed. I cannot recommend it more highly for reference, research or just becoming (re)acquainted with the wonders of our world. This set is bound to be a welcomed addition to school or classroom library as well as an extravagant but invaluable gift to any home library. 2004, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Ages 12 up.
—Judy Crowder
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, plants, algae, and microorganisms that inhabit or live in close proximity to the aquatic world are covered in this broad-ranging set. Seventy-two articles varying in length from 8 to more than 25 pages are alphabetically arranged by the creature's commonly used English name or topic. Each one is color coded by category: fish, other vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and microorganisms, or habitat and human interest. Articles describing groups of organisms are divided into sections and begin with introductory profiles that describe shared features and offer a classification panel. Other information is discussed in sections such as "Family Tree," "Anatomy," "Habitats," and "Life Cycle." Boxes offer facts, behaviors, or related information. More than 1500 full-color photographs, drawings, labeled diagrams, maps, and anatomical charts are included. Volume one includes a set table of contents and a thematic outline. Volume 11 has an essay on "The Variety of Aquatic Life," print and Internet resources for further study, classification tables, six indexes, and more. Even though it has no pronunciation guides, see-also references, or volume-specific tables of contents, this set is appealing and informative. The pleasing layout and abundant illustrations will satisfy researchers and browsers alike.-Shauna Yusko, St. Monica School, Mercer Island, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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