Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts

Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts

Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts

Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts

Synopsis

To the average office-dweller, marine scientists seem to have the good life: cruising at sea for weeks at a time, swimming in warm coastal waters, living in tropical paradises. But ocean scientists who go to sea will tell you that it is no vacation. Creature comforts are few and the obstacles seemingly insurmountable, yet an abundance of wonder and discovery still awaits those who take to the ocean. Chasing Science at Seaimmerses readers in the world of those who regularly go to sea- aquanauts living underwater, marine biologists seeking unseen life in the deep ocean, and the tall-ship captains at the helm, among others- and tells the fascinating tale of what life- and science- is like at the mercy of Mother Nature. With passion and wit, well-known marine scientist Ellen Prager shares her stories as well as those of her colleagues, revealing that in the field ingenuity and a good sense of humor are as essential as water, sunblock, and GPS. Serendipity is invaluable, and while collecting data is the goal, sometimes just getting back to shore means success. But despite the physical hardship and emotional duress that come with the work, optimism and adventure prompt a particularly hardy species of scientist to return again and again to the sea. Filled with firsthand accounts of the challenges and triumphs of dealing with the extreme forces of nature and the unpredictable world of the ocean,Chasing Science at Seais a unique glimpse below the water line at what it is like and why it is important to study, explore, and spend time in one of our planet's most fascinating and foreign environments.

Excerpt

An infamous shipwreck finally found, an elusive, strange ocean creature seen for the first time, or a fearsome attack by a powerful seagoing predator. These are the ocean stories we see or hear about, the ones that make it on to the television, Internet, or pages of a magazine. Yet they are merely specks within the tapestry of our knowledge about the sea gained over centuries of exploration and study. The true fabric of our understanding comes from the cumulative efforts of scientists, mariners, explorers, and others who spend their time, often their lives, going to sea and trying to unravel its mysteries. Their efforts, day after day, week after week, reveal the true nature and wonder of the ocean along with its critical role on Earth. They also illustrate the realities of how science is done. For many ocean scientists, myself included, the sea is a passion; some might say an obsession.

Only a certain breed chooses to go to sea for weeks at a time without the comforts of home, family, or even friends. To go into the field, one must be willing to face the risks of severe weather or unpredictable marine life, to endure physical and mental discomfort, and to suffer the frustrations of mechanical failures or simply bad luck. When one is spending extensive time on or under the ocean, a good sense of humor comes in handy, or maybe just an antisocial personality. The chance to observe and learn about the . . .

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