The Brilliant Abyss

The scope of The Brilliant Abyss is impressive, rivaling that of the deep sea itself. Helen Scales covers the deep from a variety of angles: biology, history, geology, medicine, carbon capture, exploration, mining, plastic, and conservation. I’m sure she gets this a lot, but Scales is a great name for a marine biologist and ocean-focused writer. And she is a good one.

Why Sharks Matter

A Deep Dive With the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator David Shiffman, PhD Find it on Bookshop Summary This book is true to its title: a deep dive into why sharks matter. A man who loves sharks, science, and public outreach has written a book at the intersection of those things. So much about what you … Read more

An Immense World

We, as humans, interact with the world mostly through our vision, which is relatively good. We see the world, literally, as visible light. Other animals, however, have biases toward other senses. They may “see” the world as electric or magnetic fields, or as echoes, or as scents wafting through the air.

An Immense World is a beautiful exploration of what life is like for other animals. Whether it’s a dog sniffing the ground, or a seal twitching its whiskers, or a lost lobster heading home, Ed Yong gets inside their heads to understand how they perceive the world.

A pro diver’s thoughts on the Apple Watch Ultra dive computer

I’m an Apple kid for life. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as Apple did: the first iPhone came out when I was in high school. I’ve had Apple products for as long as I can remember. Currently, I own an iPhone, 2 MacBooks (1 for work, 1 personal), an iPad, and yes, an Apple Watch.

I also dive for a living — I’m a marine biologist and scientific diver and do about 200–300 working dives a year.

So when it was announced that the new Apple Watch Ultra would be a fully functional dive computer, that certainly caught my attention. But I knew pretty quickly it was not the computer for me, and I’m here to tell you why.

4 Reasons to Try Scuba Diving If You Haven’t Before

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, filling your lungs, then letting it out slowly and controlled. Do you feel better than you did before that breath?
Scuba diving takes that feeling to the extreme.
Seriously. It’s like meditation that’s actually fun. There’s science behind this that we’ll get into later.
You may have seen people on the internet saying “OMG I JUST GOT CERTIFIED AND SCUBA IS THE BEST YOU HAVE TO TRY IT”— (I mean, I kind of agree but…) that sort of enthusiasm is way too overwhelming for me.
I wouldn’t call diving life-changing, but it is a valuable experience to have under your belt whether you go just once or start taking an annual trip. Maybe you’ll even experience an earthquake. Whatever happens, you’ll surface with plenty to talk about.
Let’s really dig in to what makes scuba diving a valuable life experience.

The Nature of Nature

Have you always loved nature whether you chose it for a career or not? Enric Sala’s latest book, The Nature of Nature, is a well-written, future-focused Ecology 101 for any background, with a bias to the marine realm that I can appreciate.
If I can pull from the acknowledgements up front, Sala points out that writing a book is a good metaphor for an ecosystem. There are many moving parts, and many contributions from different players, some known and some unknown. They all work together to form the product you see in front of you.
The Nature of Nature is a quick and fairly easy read that gives modern real world examples. You’ve heard that climate change and human impacts are bad but exactly how and why? Sala shows us how it can play out in an ecosystem with cascading effects.

The Ocean Cleanup Is Not a Solution To Plastic

It is an undeniable fact that there is a lot of plastic in the ocean (an estimated 7,000 to 35,000 tons in 2014). The world produced 381 million tons of plastic in 2015.  Hakai magazine likened the problem to a garbage truck dumping an entire load into the ocean every minute. This plastic waste clogs our waterways, strangles marine life, and blemishes our beaches. It is very obviously a problem, but less obvious how we should go about fixing it.

What an Earthquake Feels Like From Underwater

I had the incredibly unique experience recently of an earthquake happening nearby while I was scuba diving in the ocean. We found out on surfacing that it had a magnitude of 4.8 and the epicenter was 37 miles away from us. I was “at work”— surveying fish on coral reefs around St. Thomas in the … Read more