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Many marine biologists have concentrated on the species approach to the study of marine vertebrates. Although it has long been recognized that species interact, it has been far easier to study that interaction from the viewpoint of only one of the participants. Recently biologists have tried to study interactions from the viewpoint of all participants. Because of the high visibility of birds, it is easy to observe their interactions with other vertebrates such as fish, porpoises, and whales, but it is difficult to obtain quantitative data on their interactions. Seabirds and Other Marine Vertebrates, the only comprehensive examination of its kind, fills a particular niche: that of pulling together in one place the exciting current work in marine species interactions between seabirds and other marine vertebrates.
The majority of essays in this work are structured to include a balance between literature review, original data, and synthesis. They concern obvious aspects of predation, competition, and commensalism. These topics relate directly to food acquisition and survival in a marine environment, and provide paradigms for the future study of marine birds and other organisms.
Since man's encroachment in coastal and pelagic environments is increasing and poses a threat to marine birds, a volume elucidating various aspects of their interactions has multiple uses. As well as being of value to ornithologist, this work should be useful to other vertebrate biologists, behaviorists, ecologists and managers involved with coastal planning. It is a forerunner of things to come in marine biology.