Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep

Marah J. Hardt. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-137-27997-2
Hardt, an ecologist and research codirector for the non-profit Future of Fish, puts a hilarious, if somewhat misleading, anthropomorphic spin on underwater reproduction. She explores the sea’s sexual nature by topic of interest rather than species type, breaking her chapters up into broad areas such as sex changes, penis diversity, and different types of marine fertilization. Concern about the influence of human activity on the survival of aquatic species permeates the text, highlighting how human preferences for bigger or brighter specimens can leave a population prone to lower rates of reproduction. Hardt also notes that the impact of human waste streams can be hard to anticipate. The book’s final section focuses on ideas for sustainability. Balancing the seriousness of her content with lowbrow humor, Hardt files certain spawning aggregations under the term “oceanic orgies,” equates copepod courtship to hitting up singles bars, and describes blue whales’ singing as “getting their Barry White on.” Though the style is light, Hardt’s science is up to date in a field where research can be difficult, and readers will feel confident that they can talk intelligently about fish gonads at their next sushi dinner. 8-page color insert. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 02/09/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-4668-7922-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-0356-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-11859-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5356-2
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