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The Brilliant Abyss
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About the Author

Helen Scales, PhD, is a marine biologist, writer, and public broadcaster. She is the author of Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells and Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean, and Everything. She has written for National Geographic, the Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife Magazine, and BBC Focus, among others, and also presents the Earth Unscrewed podcast. She teaches marine biology and science writing at Cambridge University and advises the marine conservation charity Sea Changers. She divides her time between Cambridge, England, and the French coast of Finistere.

Reviews

Praise for The Brilliant Abyss "Weaving together the latest discoveries with well-known examples, [Scales] details the many fascinating adaptations that life has evolved to survive in a world unlike anything at Earth's surface . . . The Brilliant Abyss is an enjoyable and accessible introduction to the deep sea, told with a passion that I found infectious. The stories of life's struggle for survival beneath the waves are compelling and Scales is particularly evocative when describing hydrothermal vents . . . . Scales brings to life this important part of our planet."--Eleanor Parsons, New Scientist"It is, indeed, weirdness all the way down, and Scales's bestiary is a wonderful introduction to its variety . . . Scales's enthusiasm for her subject is matched by a gift for visual evocation . . .The book also has a crusading message, which is that we depend on the ocean more than we realise, and are harming ourselves the more we harm it."--Steven Poole, Daily Telegraph"Helen Scales is one of those rare scientists who can capture the excitement of science. The Brilliant Abyss has a thrill on every page as she explores the deep and little-known ocean. But this comes with a warning. Man's destruction is now reaching the remotest corners of the planet and our survival depends on stopping it."--Mark Kurlansky, author of Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate and The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing "Mind-blowing! From vampire squids to translucent octopuses, from marine snow to sea butterflies, from Yeti crabs who farm their microbial meals on their own hairy claws, to snails who build shells of iron in hydrothermal vents, Helen Scales blitzes us again and again with the deep sea's staggering strangeness and arresting beauty. Studded with wonder on every page, The Brilliant Abyss is proof that, even as we consume and ruin our beautiful Earth in our greed, we hardly know our planet AT ALL! At this critical point in human history, Scales's eloquent reporting underscores the urgency with which we must focus on saving the deep sea if our planet is to survive."--Sy Montgomery, author of the national bestseller The Soul of an Octopus Praise for Eye of the Shoal "A sprawling, ambitious underwater journey studded with fascinating tidbits."--New York Times Book Review"An engaging and informative bouillabaisse."--Economist"Scales's genuine appreciation and awe for fish are contagious. She continually entices the reader by introducing exciting aspects of fish in each chapter."--Science"A delightful book that provides a welcome invitation to enter the amazing world of fish."--New Scientist"This aquarium of a book is an eloquent reminder of how remarkable [fish] are."--Natural History"Enthralling and thought-provoking."--Countryman"Helen Scales invites us to dive below the waterline as she reveals the hidden but glorious lives of fish going about their rather fascinating business."--CoastPraise for Spirals in Time "A rewarding glimpse of another world, filled with strange and reclusive creatures . . . There is rich detail in all directions. One does not know what will come next. Often the descriptions made me see shafts of sunlight underwater, irradiating extraordinary places and creatures. That is just what the book does itself."--Guardian"Punctures assumptions with the power of a cone snail dart."--Spectator"Scales is a charming raconteur with boundless enthusiasm and an eye for detail that make her subject glow with life. Combining biology, history and ecology, this is nature writing at its most engaging."--Sunday Express"The stories in Spirals in Time--which range from slaves being bought for bags of shells in west Africa in the 1770s to ground-breaking medical uses of cone-snail venom--are gripping and unimaginable."--Telegraph"Takes us on a fascinating journey into the strange and captivating world of mollusks. Carefully researched and entertaining throughout . . . Relentlessly interesting."--Science"An informed introduction to this fascinating group. The author's enthusiasm shines through the prose . . . An ideal book for a summer holiday, and beach finds will take on a new dimension because of it."--Times Literary Supplement"With the soul of a poet and a talent for finding the most intriguing trivia about familiar seaside sights, marine biologist Scales turns the mundane into the magical."--Discover

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