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Sea Turtles

Hardback
, 240 pages

110 color photos, 7 maps

ISBN:
9780801880070
October 2004
$30.95

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Sea Turtles

A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

Winner, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Awards in Biological Sciences
Winner, National Outdoor Book Award, Nature and the Environment
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

For more than a hundred million years, sea turtles have been swimming in the world's oceans. These magnificent, long-lived creatures spend their lives in the water, coming ashore to lay their eggs. Upon hatching, the baby turtles leave the nest and enter a dangerous world of storms and predators. The females will return to the same beach to lay their own eggs when they reach maturity a decade later. Today, there are seven species of sea turtle: the grass–eating green turtle; the sea sponge–eating hawksbill; the olive ridley; the Kemp's ridley, which is the smallest species; the loggerhead; the flatback of Australia; and the giant leatherback. Having escaped the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, these ancient reptiles today face new dangers that threaten their survival: pollution, hunting, and the destruction of their nesting grounds. Will this century be the last to witness their majesty? Will succeeding generations live in a world devoid of their graceful presence?

Marine biologist James R. Spotila has spent much of his life unraveling the mysteries of these graceful creatures and working to ensure their survival. In Sea Turtles, he offers a comprehensive and compelling account of their history and life cycle based on the most recent scientific data—and suggests what we can do now to save them. From the Kemp's ridley, which nests on a single beach on Mexico's Gulf Coast, to the nomadic leatherback, which can weigh up to a ton and is in the most imminent danger of extinction, Spotila offers a vivid description of their diets and mating habits, and the conservation efforts being made on their behalf. Illustrated with stunning color photographs by the world's leading nature photographers, Sea Turtles will inform and inspire readers of all ages everywhere.

James R. Spotila holds the Betz Chair of Environmental Science at Drexel University, where he is also director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Dr. Spotila is a leading ecologist and physiologist who has written more than 100 articles published in leading scientific journals and helped create the field of biophysical ecology. One of the world's leading authorities on sea turtles, he is the founding president of the International Sea Turtle Society and president of the Leatherback Trust, based in Costa Rica.

"In this comprehensive guide, [Spotila] treats in detail the seven species: green turtles, hawksbills, olive ridleys, Kemp's ridleys, loggerheads, flatbacks, and leatherbacks. Each chapter includes tables of data on where the species is found, population estimates of colonies, and, in some cases, a chronology of conservation efforts... Spotila, fittingly, offers vignettes of conservation projects that provide human interest... Spotila's book is recommended for high school, university, and research-level libraries."

"Such enthusiasm is infectious... The accessible text is beautifully illustrated with numerous color photographs. The lay readers will be captivated. The book's review of what scientists know about these charismatic but woefully endangered creatures is substantial enough to interest biologists and conservationists as well."

"Each species gets a chapter with sumptuous photographs, and short personal profiles pay homage to those spearheading conservation efforts. "

" Sea Turtles is spellbinding, articulate, indispensible and, with its many full-color photos, taken by the world's leading underwater photographers, astonishing."

"The author is both a leading authority on sea turtles and a talented writer; his passion for the subject is on every page."

"An evocative portrait of the seven species and their valiant fight for survival."

"This is a great book."

"Clearly written and well-illustrated book... provides a helpful primer for nonscientists."

"It is this mixture of scientific expertise and outright human awe that makes this book such a treasure... A trove of information, a collection of spectacular photos, and an ode to a creature that somehow, years after its birth, is able to navigate back to the precise beach where it was born to lay its own eggs."

"Bottom line: This book is worthy of centerpiece placement on any coffee table. But Sea Turtles' loftier goal make it more than just another pretty picture book."

" Sea Turtles capitalizes on the depth of James Spotila's experience in field and political environments as well as his evident passion for conservation, [producing] an equally compelling, modern book. Readers of all stripes will be captivated by the outstanding photography and entertained by the stories... A wonderful entrée into the exciting world of sea turtles for the uninitiated and a delightful repast for everyone. His eloquent words are inspiring, and his hopeful message deserves to be heard."

"This lavishly produced book is filled with numerous excellent photographs, as well as beautiful schematics of anatomy and distribution maps. But this is much more than a coffee-table book: it deserves space on the academic's bookshelf."

"Open this new, beautifully produced book and you'll find yourself hopelessly caught up in the life of sea turtles."

"This is simply a great book: lucid, literate, and lavishly illustrated."

"This volume hits the sweet spot between a hard science manual and a mere coffee table book."

"A worldwide study into what is causing the decrease in sea turtles throughout the world. Going beyond just what is causing it, though, [Spotila] carefully explicates why the decline is so important to all living things."

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