Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone Review

"Part travelogue, part memoir, part deep-dive (literally) into the world of jellyfish... Spineless can serve as inspiration for any of us to reclaim a creative space in the midst of family life." --NPR

A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea's imperiled ecosystems.

Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting--microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity--is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers.

More than a decade ago, Juli Berwald left a career in ocean science to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas, but jellyfish drew her back to the sea. Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants, decimated fisheries, and caused millions of dollars of damage. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Juli embarked on a scientific odyssey. She traveled the globe to meet the biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raised jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marveled at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders.

Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless is the story of how Juli learned to navigate and ultimately embrace her ambition, her curiosity, and her passion for the natural world. She discovers that jellyfish science is more than just a quest for answers. It's a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.

Title:Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Arnis

    https://poseidons99.wordpress.com/201......

  • Amy (Other Amy)

    The taste of the jellyfish was so subtle as to be almost nothing at all. I ate some more. It was a tasty, light, savory salad. In spite of all my anxiety about buying, soaking, preparing, and then eat...

  • Rachel Smalter Hall

    I was completely charmed by this science memoir about jellyfish and chasing your dreams. Juli Berwald’s love of marine biology was reawakened when she started contributing to National Geographic to ...

  • Peter Tillman

    Good introduction to the biology of jellyfish. Definitely aimed at the general public, and usually pretty clear, though the book could have used more illustrations. Her interviews and interactions wit...

  • Seth

    A fantastic book to understand a species not discussed that often unless you're a marine biologist or a scientist in a connected field. This book is definitely a passion project for the author with cu...

  • Emma Sea

    jellies!...

  • Ann

    An interesting subject, a lot of marine biology information in detail, a whole lot of detail. I skimmed past a lot of the jellyfish detail with just enough to know they are scary and amazing, and pose...

  • Leah (Jane Speare)

    This is amazing! Now I kind of want to be a marine biologist when I grow up.....Are you worried about a world jellyfish takeover? I went into this thinking I'd learn some cool jellyfish facts and came...

  • Susan

    I am not a marine biologist....just a retired RN. This titles just grabbed me "Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone. I learned more about jellyfish than I ever wanted ...

  • Charles Dee Mitchell

    Reading a book about jellyfish seemed like the perfect way to start a new year. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be quite the book about jellyfish I was looking for.Spineless is good, but like ...