Friday, May 06, 2011

Sex (and much more) under the sea

This NPR excerpts a new book by Dr. Ellen Prager, an undersea biologist who tells us some of the strangest things that go on in the ocean. Title: Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter. A sea cucumber with a buttful of teeth? Check. Lobsters who think urinating on each other is the way to get a lady in the mood? Check. Parrotfish who change from female to exceptionally big, strong males if the dominant male in their group dies? Check. And I haven't even gotten to hagfish (you may not want to know). Dr. Prager's point is the that every creature has an important role in the ecosystem. We all understand that basic point, but we don't often think about how complex the whole business is and how strange the individual components are. I'll be ordering this one.

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