We’re celebrating with Steve Palumbi, co-author of The Extreme Life of the Sea.
In 1837 Charles Darwin first speculated that atolls, ring-shaped coral reefs that encircle lagoons, formed by growing around volcanic islands that eventually sunk. It took 100 years to prove Darwin’s theory of atoll formation correct. Why? Steve Palumbi explains in this video at his Stanford-based Microdocs site.
The Extreme Life of the Sea highlights other fascinating facts about these delicate yet enduring creatures. Black corals, Steve and his co-author Anthony Palumbi explain in their chapter “The Oldest”, can be smashed to bits by the smallest waves yet have been known to live up to 4,600 years and are likely the oldest living organisms on the planet. Instead of becoming frail as they age like many other species, the longer black corals live the more likely they are to survive and reproduce.
The book is just now shipping to stores, but we’ve made the book’s prologue available online to tide you over until you can get your hands on a copy.
Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway for 6 digital copies of our best-selling and most popular bird books. We had such a wonderful response, I decided to pick two winners. Congratulations to Gaurav Kandlikar and Jill Clark who are now owners of an enviable birding library on their handheld devices!
Gaurav noted this was a “nice way to start the week,” and we agree! But the best comment goes to Jill who compared winning our giveaway to winning the Powerball lottery — well, she called it a close second.
I am also pleased to announce another natural history title is now available in the iBooks store: Rare Birds of North America by Steve Howell, Ian Lewington, and Will Russell
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Most luminescence is blue-green to match the deep sea’s weak sunlight. But the loosejaw group of deep-sea dragonfish (family Stomiidae) project a unique hue. Large and powerful photophores just beneath their eyes beam red light through the water. They accomplish this through a unique fluorescent protein in some species and a red-brown filter over the photophore in others.
Red is an unusual color in the deep sea. Seawater absorbs red light and more easily transmits blue, and so most of the bioluminescence in the sea is in a far-reaching blue-green hue. The predators and prey of loosejaws have eyes particularly sensitive to this blue and green light, having evolved beneath a mile of seawater.
The loosejaws are a rare exception, specially evolved to see the red light that they themselves produce.