Staff Pick

In their second, stunning, collaboration, award-winning geographer James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, former senior design editor for National Geographic, use big data to show us worlds we’ve never been able to see before. Where the Animals Go (W.W. Norton, $39.95) charts the creatures of land, sea, and air using the information generated by a wide range of new technologies, from GPS to DNA “barcoding,” DTAGs (digital sound recording tags) to fluorescent nanoparticles. Tailoring the technology to fit the environment and the creature, scientists have followed elephants and zebras over more ground than these creatures were thought to cover, tracked a wolf across the Alps from Ljubljana to Verona by way of Austria, sent drones to count orangutans on Sumatra by tabulating their nests in the trees, and traced seals under the Southern Ocean, a project that also yielded data on sea salinity and temperature—essential for research on climate change. Cheshire and Uberti have collected stories about the animals along with the data, and use both for the dozens of detailed, full-color maps that form the heart of their book. Just as technology is revising assumptions about many animals’ range, feeding habits, and other behavior, and giving conservationists evidence for new policies concerning wildlife, it’s also fostering these beautiful visualizations. Watch the spirals of a griffon vulture catching a thermal, or the flight of  golden-winged warblers staying just ahead of a tornado, or measure the depth a whale dives when exposed to the noise of a submarine, and you come close to understanding what it’s like to be an animal on Earth today.

Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9780393634020
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 19th, 2017

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Staff Pick

Wolves occupy a special place in the hearts of Americans, commanding admiration for their beauty and respect for their fierce predatory skills. Although these animals are inextricably linked to the rugged identity of the West, Nate Blakeslee shows that the reality of human-wolf coexistence is complicated and uneasy. With the immediacy of a novel, American Wolf (Crown, $28) tracks “0-Six,” a charismatic alpha female descended from a pack reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 (before which wolves had been hunted to near extinction). As she raises her cubs and faces down other wolves, 0-Six’s journey is depicted in meticulous and essential detail, providing the hook to a wider depiction of life in the northern Rockies. People feature prominently, including the watchers who track the wolf packs, the environmentalists who fought for their reintroduction, the ranchers losing livestock, and the hunters who resent the loss of elk, the wolves’ primary prey. Blakeslee is scrupulously fair in presenting the perspective of all those whose livelihoods are affected, and readers shouldn’t approach this expecting a “good guys, bad guys” narrative.  Whatever conclusions you may reach, however, what stands out is the author’s esteem for an ancient species under pressure in the modern era.

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781101902783
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - October 17th, 2017

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Staff Pick

Jellyfish are among the oldest creatures on the planet, yet not much is known about them. Three hundred species have been named, but twice that are thought to exist. They range in size from a millimeter to more than six feet, live for hours or years. Most sting, and one kind can kill a person in less than three minutes. Collecting in massive “blooms,” they literally stop ship traffic and frequently clog intake valves and shut down power plants. And they are “heartbreakingly beautiful.” Juli Berwald, a one-time science textbook writer, became smitten with jellyfish while diving in Israel in 1987. She didn’t plan to pursue them around the world, but she has, and Spineless (Riverhead, $27) is both the story of what Berwald has learned about jellyfish and the story of how the jellyfish made her a scientist.  A wife and mother of two, Berwald found in jellyfish “the intellectual playground …[she] craved,” but scheduled reporting and diving trips around the family’s needs. She nonetheless met with marine researchers in Europe, Japan, and throughout the U.S., and her book examines all facets of jellyfish physiology, from how the animals swim—pulling water, not pushing it, and moving deliberately, not drifting—to how they sting, how they use bioluminescence to communicate, how one species appears every thirty years, like a marine locust, and how another type reverses stages of its life cycle, as if it finds time as fluid as water. Berwald’s driving question is whether jellyfish thrive or suffer in warmer, more acidic seas, and as she presents the conflicting evidence, her book expands into an urgent and illuminating look at the ocean as a complex eco-system beset by climate change.

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735211261
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - November 7th, 2017

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