Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales / Edition 1

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Elin kelsey is a faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Canada, and author of saving sea otters, Finding Out about Whales, and Strange New Species, among other books.

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Editorial Reviews


“Charming. . . . Will be of interest to all whale and dolphin watchers.”
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Kelsey, a scientist and author (Saving Sea Otters), meditates in 20 linked essays on the resident and visiting cetaceans-including whales, dolphins and orcas-of the Gulf of California. To convey what's known and suspected about the underwater mammalian lifestyle, Kelsey interviews dozens of contemporary ocean scientists-Exequiel Ezcurra, Bruce Mate, Fred Sharpe, husband-and-wife team Hal Whitehead and Linda Weilgart-and places their research in context alongside data on African elephant herds, antelope and wildebeest feeding strategies, the behaviors of predators and (especially) the dynamics of her own family (mom to two young daughters, Kelsey's first chapter is titled "Extreme Motherhood"). Focusing on social relationships and culture, Kelsey finds research (including submarine observations of sea-floor whale carcasses) that reveals some critical and previously unsuspected roles. Brilliant at pursuing seemingly unrelated trails back down the blowhole, Kelsey illuminates the "humanity" of whales, and the human threat to them; for instance, she explains why canned tuna is never really "dolphin safe" (motorized boats used to herd dolphins away from tuna cause sonic chaos, separating mothers from pups with often fatal results). Kelsey's cogent, compassionate work makes clear the sophistication and importance of whale communities, and how current efforts to save them may not be enough. 30 color illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Charming. . . . Will be of interest to all whale and dolphin watchers.”
The Economist
“Engaging portrayal of the lives and culture of whales.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520261587
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 1,388,806
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Elin Kelsey is the author of Saving Sea Otters, Finding Out about Whales, Strange New Species, and other books. She consults for environmental organizations including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). She is a faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Canada.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Extreme Motherhood 7

2 A Sea of Milk 12

3 Looking for Whales in All the Wrong Places 24

4 Resident Aliens? 31

5 How to Make a Really Rich Sea 39

6 Popular Mechanics 44

7 Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Smartest of Them All? 50

8 Building Nets from Bubbles and Other Mysterious Humpback Whale Talents 57

9 Do Baby Sperm Whales Suck Milk through Their Noses? 65

10 Deep Culture 70

11 What's the Use of Granny? 83

12 Dolphin Snatchers 89

13 Friendly Mothers, Friendly Calves? 99

14 The War on Fish 113

15 Why Blue Whales Gotta Be Big 125

16 What You Can See by Listening 132

17 What You Can Learn from the Dead 142

18 Let's Talk about Sex, Baby 152

19 Missing Meat 161

20 Shifting Scale 169

Notes 177

Index 191

Photographs follow page 82

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