Palumbi Lab

BooksExtreme Life of the Sea

The Death and Life of Monterey Bay
A Story of Revival

Stephen R. Palumbi, Carolyn Sotka

Anyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, and is now one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world.

It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival—told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life—raucous sea birds, abundant sea otters, barking sea lions, halibut the size of wagon wheels, waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned, the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today, both Monterey’s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen?

The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasn’t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the sea’s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passion—passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book.

Island Press
1718 Connecticut Avenue,
N.W. Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20009-1148



The Future is Wild
A Natural History of the Future

by Dougal Dixon & John Adams
forward by Stephen Palumbi

An exploration into the way evolution may shape the animals and plants of the world 5 million, 100 million and 200 million years in the future

Written by a team of international scientists, based on biological and evolutionary principles.

Take a walk in a forest anywhere in the world today and you'll see the same basic types of animals and vegetation- birds, mammals and flowering plants. But a forest two hundred million years ago was a very different place. There were no birds. Mammals and flowering plants had only just begun to evolve. Who would have thought that, in the last 200 million years - a mere fraction of the time that life has graced our planet, so many completely new organisms would have evolved and thrived?

So what does evolution have in store for life on Earth over the next 200 million years? What creatures will roam the land or swim in the oceans? The Future is Wild draws on an international team of experts who bring to life a world of amazing organisms, setting them loose in our imaginations. But the rules are strict. The organisms you'll encounter in this book are based on fundamental biological and evolutionary principles. They could, and may yet, exist.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Evolving earth
Chapter 2 5 Million Years
Chapter 3 100 Million Years
Chapter 4 200 Million Years

Firefly Books
P.O. Box 1338, Ellicott Station
Buffalo, NY 14205


The Evolution Explosion
How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change

Stephen R. Palumbi

A critical look at the intersection of evolution and
high-tech modern life

Evolution is not only the slow process that ruled the rise and fall of the dinosaurs over hundreds of millions of years. It also happens quickly &endash; so quickly and frequently that it changes how all of us live our lives: drugs fail because diseases evolve; insects overcome the most powerful pesticides; HIV and tuberculosis develop resistance to the newest drugs in a few months. This is evolution with teeth.

While the ecological scars of human technology have been well publicized, the broad consequences of antibiotic and antiviral use, insecticide applications, and herbicide bioengineering are largely unexplored. Does the human impact on evolution falter at the borders of our own species? Or do we, in fact, generate our own evolutionary pressure?

Enthusiastically written for a wide audience, The Evolution Explosion examines these practical and critical aspects of modern evolution with simplicity, force and humor.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 From the Mountains to the Sea
Chapter 2 Right Before Your Eyes
Chapter 3 The Engine Of Evolution
Chapter 4 Temporary Miracles
Chapter 5 The Evolution of HIV
Chapter 6 Poisoning Insects, and What They Can Do About It
Chapter 7 Biotechnology and the Chemical Plow
Chapter 8 Evolution All at Sea
Chapter 9 Are Humans Still Evolving?
Chapter 10 The Ecology and Evolution of Aloha

W.W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10110


The Extreme Life of the Sea     more . . .     see also ELotS website
Stephen R. Palumbi, Anthony R. Palumbi

The ocean teems with life that thrives under difficult situations in unusual environments. The Extreme Life of the Sea takes readers to the absolute limits of the ocean world--the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans. It dives into the icy Arctic and boiling hydrothermal vents--and exposes the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches--to show how marine life thrives against the odds. This thrilling book brings to life the sea's most extreme species, and tells their stories as characters in the drama of the oceans. Coauthored by Stephen Palumbi, one of today's leading marine scientists, The Extreme Life of the Sea tells the unforgettable tales of some of the most marvelous life forms on Earth, and the challenges they overcome to survive. Modern science and a fluid narrative style give every reader a deep look at the lives of these species.

The Extreme Life of the Sea shows you the world's oldest living species. It describes how flying fish strain to escape their predators, how predatory deep-sea fish use red searchlights only they can see to find and attack food, and how, at the end of her life, a mother octopus dedicates herself to raising her batch of young. This wide-ranging and highly accessible book also shows how ocean adaptations can inspire innovative commercial products--such as fan blades modeled on the flippers of humpback whales--and how future extremes created by human changes to the oceans might push some of these amazing species over the edge.

Princeton University Press
41 William Street
Princeton, NJ 08540


Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, 120 Ocean View Blvd., Pacific Grove, CA 93950
The DEath and Life of Monterey Bay The Future is Wild The Evolution Explosion