The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic / Edition 1

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Coursing through the Atlantic Ocean is a powerful current with a force 300 times that of the mighty Amazon. Ulanski explores the fascinating science and history of this sea highway known as the Gulf Stream, a watery wilderness that stretches from the Caribbean to the North Atlantic. Spanning both distance and time, Ulanski's investigation reveals how the Gulf Stream affects and is affected by every living thing that encounters it—from tiny planktonic organisms to giant bluefin tuna, from ancient mariners to big-game anglers. He examines the scientific discovery of ocean circulation, the role of ocean currents in the settlement of the New World, and the biological life teeming in the stream.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Includes a fascinating account of the Gulf Stream's role in history.—Science News

Ulanski is a scientist but doesn't write like one. His book is jam-packed with facts, but they are so gracefully integrated into the text that it's only when you come up for air that you realize you've been learning all along.—The Wall Street Journal

Historical examples add interest. . . . The sections on life and travel in the Gulf Stream are the most interesting and readable and will appeal to general readers.—Library Journal

From the Publisher
"Ulanski makes clear the connections between the physical world and human activity through history."
McCormick Messenger

"A valuable book. . . . A multilayered and eminently insightful book about the way the natural world works. . . . It's the intimate relationship between species and environment that best underscores Ulanski's promotion of ecological awareness."
The Texas Observer

"Valuable. . . . A multilayered and eminently insightful book about the way the natural world works."
The Texas Observer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807832172
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stan Ulanski is professor of geology and environmental science at James Madison University.

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Table of Contents


Preface Acknowledgments

Part I. Coming Full Circle: Flow in the Atlantic Chapter 1. Swirls and Conveyors Chapter 2. Anatomy of the Gulf Stream Chapter 3. Flowing Down the Hill: The History of Ocean Circulation

Part II. Life in the Gulf Stream Chapter 4. Floaters and Drifters Chapter 5. Bluefin Tuna: The Great Migration Chapter 6. Fishing the Blue Waters

Part III. Sailing the Atlantic Chapter 7. Exploration and Discovery Chapter 8. Colonization of America

Epilogue Bibliography Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2010

    With more depth, it could be a five-star...A lot of information, but there could be more depth. Well written for fast-reading. Excellent overview.

    S. Ulanski's "The Gulf Stream" covers a lot of territory about ocean circulation, ocean life, historic explorers, scientists, and colonization that used the different currents--the takers, takers, takers (exploitation, slavery, whaling), the rebellers of the takers (pirate Blackbeard), and more. He also mentions the innovators--Michael Markels' ideas (page 71) on increasing phytoplankton and fish through adding nutrients to the Gulf Stream (for fishing--takers, takers, takers). There are also many nice illustrations. Yet, this book lacks depth as it was written almost as a mass-market book, but for those that like mass-market books, it would be a fantastic read. You probably will want to sail there. What would have made this book a five-star would be if the author added more information such as text boxes listing the many life forms (common and scientific name) in the areas he mentions. Also, more in-depth about the ocean composition such as the oxygen at the various levels of ocean depth. Some issues with this are mentioning a slave trader in year 1751 (Captain Henry Ellis) as being innovative and discovering low temps at bottom of the ocean. How silly, they knew about that way beforehand, probably from off of the coasts of their home country, but basically listing a monster with an innovation usually is a no-no? (Nuremburg Laws?). And, the use of the word "linch-pin" (page 55) though the author also mentions the horrors of slavery in the book. This may seem trite, but I read a lot, and I do not see this wording that could be seen as derogatory in books, usually the editors take them out or the words were never there. Of course, this is a North Carolina Univerity Press book...I did not get the feeling that much is known about the Gulf Stream in terms of current, flow, that there are still many unknown areas in this oceanic region.

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