________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 13 . . . . March 1, 2002

cover Creatures of the Deep: In Search of the Sea's "Monsters" and the World They Live In.

Erich Hoyt.
Willowdale, ON: Firefly Books, 2001.
160 pp., cloth, $40.00.
ISBN 1-55209-340-9.

Subject Headings:
Marine animals.
Sea Monsters.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4

exerpt:

But dinoflagellates also have a dark side- they are the deadly nightshade of the marine world. When certain dinoflagellates reproduce in great blooms, they turn into red tides, which can make the water itself blood-red. The dinoflagellate species that cause red tides produce toxins, such as saxitoxin, which attack the nervous systems of fish and cause mass mortality. As bacteria work to decompose the dead fish, they consume oxygen, leaving the water depleted of oxygen, which can also lead to massive fish kills.

Erich Hoyt, an award-winning science writer, gives readers an amazing tour of the ocean world through an underwater camera in this fascinating book. He examines former and current sea monsters which dwell at various depths of the ocean. His purpose is to dispel misconceptions and turn these "monsters" into animals worthy of humans' "respect, patient curiosity and admiration." For example, Hoyt states that whales and rays used to be thought of as monsters to be feared, but, as people learned more about them, their opinions of these gentle creatures changed.

     Creatures of the Deep is divided into three sections, each of which has several chapters. The book traces the history of man's exploration of the ocean world and the many inventions which have enabled humans to study and learn about this unique habitat. Though catchy, the subtitle is, perhaps, a bit of a misnomer, for Hoyt not only highlights several well-known "monsters" - the giant squid, sharks and the fanged dragonfish, to name a few - but he also discusses the countless other creatures which call the ocean their home. In the first part of the book, Hoyt explains, in detail, adaptations of ocean-dwellers (e.g. counter-shading, bioluminescence) as a direct result of the amount of light, pressure, ocean currents and temperature changes at various depths. Predator-prey relationships are featured in the second part, while the third section highlights the rugged terrain of the ocean floor, underwater volcanic activity and recent discoveries of the first ecosystem on Earth that does not get its energy from the sun. Lastly, Hoyt envisions a future in which humans will be able to explore safely all of the ocean's depths.

     This book has several strengths: the text provides a wealth of interesting information; the colour photographs are no less than fabulous, affording readers a glimpse into the murky ocean world; and, perhaps, most important of all, Hoyt's obvious passion for the ocean and the myriad life forms it harbors comes through loud and clear. A table of contents, an index and a few maps and diagrams are included.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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