The Open Sea, Its Natural History

The Open Sea, Its Natural History

The Open Sea, Its Natural History

The Open Sea, Its Natural History

Excerpt

Professor Hardy began his marine biologist's life over a third of a century ago on his return from service in the first world war. After Oxford and a scholarship to the Stazione Zoologica at Naples, he soon became a member of the Fisheries Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; and, in the middle 'twenties, served as Chief Zoologist to the R.R.S. Discovery expedition, to the Antarctic seas, making a special study of plankton. His subsequent professorshipsfirst at University College (now the University of) Kingston-uponHull; next at Aberdeen; and since 1945 at the University of Oxford-- have brought him the highest academic status and honours, but have not kept him away from his beloved sea. In the closing stages of the writing of this volume, as the editors well remember, he was correcting the typescript, and completing his unique and wonderful colour illustrations, on the deck of the latest Royal Research Ship, Discoveg II, scanning the contents of each netting or dredging, sketching new or rare creatures of the sea before their colour faded, applying himself to his research with an enthusiasm excelling that of most naturalists of half his age.

If the editorial board were asked to select from Professor Hardy's many scientific qualities that which has contributed most to the creation of this extraordinary book, they would perhaps settle for enthusiasm. Throughout The Open Sea it is quite apparent that he is devotedly obsessed by, and interested in, animals; he is eternally curious about the nature of their adaptations and lives, brilliantly critical in the examination of their mysteries, acutely lucid and at the same time highly artistic in his depiction of them in his remarkable plates. It was a welcome burst of enthusiasm that caused Professor Hardy to write so much and so well of the life of the sea that he has written us two books instead of one. It is the first of these, concerned with the general natural history of the open sea and the world of its plankton, that we here welcome. The second part of The Open Sea concerns the open sea's fish and fisheries, and will be published some time in 1957 or early 1958; like the present book, it will be illustrated by Professor Hardy's own colour paintings, which represent what no . . .

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