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

About the Author

Juli Berwald received her PhD in ocean science from the University of Southern California. A science textbook writer and editor, she has contributed to many science textbooks and written for The New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate, among other publications. She lives in Austin with her husband and their son and daughter.

Reviews

"In this memoir/science-reporting mash-up, [Berwald] profiles one of the ocean's most intriguing creatures--the unique contractions it uses to propel through water, its acidifying habitat and its booming populations." --Scientific American
"Spineless explores not only jellies' suffering ecoysystem and our responsibility to the planet but also how Berwald strengthened her own backbond." --Real Simple--Real Simple
"Fascinating... Readers can't help but be swept away with enthusiasm... Full of humor and intrigue, Spineless is a seaworthy saga brimming with information about not only jellyfish but also about the health and future of the oceans and our planet." --BookPage
"Like Bernd Heinrich, Juli Berwald illuminates an entire ecosystem through the lens of one remarkable group of creatures. I learned something from every page, not only about jellyfish but about the crucial role of marine scientists and their studies." --Andrea Barrett, author of Archangel and The Voyage of the Narwhal--Andrea Barrett
"She swam with jellies, watched how quickly they disintegrate in fishers' nets, ate them in Japan, and kept them in a home aquarium, and as she revels in these spineless animals, she teaches us to delight in them, too." --Booklist
"With lucid, gorgeous, arresting language, Juli Berwald opens a rare window on the adventures of scientists at work, capturing the fabulously ingenious ways they make sense of our world. Spineless will leave you awestruck, revering the ever-more fragile brilliance of life on Earth." --Miriam Horn, author of Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman --Miriam Horn
"In this lovely exploration of the mysterious jellyfish, Berwald both entrances and sounds a warning: pay attention to the messages sent by ocean life, and act to protect their environment, and ours." --Kirkus Reviews
"In this astonishing adventure of a book, Juli Berwald takes us on a personal journey into the enchanting and mystifying aqueous world of jellyfish, and in so doing, sheds light on the vital ecological balances upon which our own survival depends." --Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being--Ruth Ozeki
"Spineless is as mesmerizing, surprising, and beautiful as the jellyfish itself. Every page contains some astonishing treasure. If you cherish the sea, if you care about the environment, if you relish life on this sweet, blue planet, you will love this book." --Sy Montgomery, New York Times-bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus--Sy Montgomery
"More than a mere look at jellyfish... [Spineless] provides plenty of food for thought for those seeking to make different choices in their treatment of the environment and in their own lives." --Library Journal
"Captivating and informative." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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