23 December 2012

Sea butterfly

Twenty-eighth in a series of notes and comments on The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

Chapter 19: Sea butterfly

page 285: implications. Now real-world observations.

page 288/9: Diatom names. A longer list of amazing names at 100 Diatom Greats.

page 291: millions and millions of [tiny] shells. In Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino writes:
The atomizing of things extends also to the visible aspects of the world, and it is here that Lucretius is at his best as a poet: the little motes of dust swirling in a shaft of sunlight in a dark room, the miniscule shells, all similar but each one different, that waves caste up on the bibula harena, the imbibing sand.
page 293: reduction in...primary productivity of phytoplankton. A brief explainer of the 2010 paper by Boyce et al behind this claim is here. It was also suggested that global warming was likely to reduce phytoplankton size. Recent research suggests that warmer future oceans could cause phytoplankton to thrive near the poles but shrink in the tropics.

page 293: plastic...particles are now everywhere, including the Southern Ocean. See this or this. On marine plastics (and everything about the oceans) read the magnificent but disturbing book Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts.

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