Book cover of A Natural History of the Future: What the Laws of Biology Tell Us about the Destiny of the Human Species by Rob Dunn
Biological Sciences

A Natural History of the Future: What the Laws of Biology Tell Us about the Destiny of the Human Species

A leading ecologist argues that if humankind is to survive on a fragile planet, we must understand and obey its iron laws

Our species has amassed unprecedented knowledge of nature, which we have tried to use to seize control of life and bend the planet to our will. In A Natural History of the Future, biologist Rob Dunn argues that such efforts are futile. […Learn More]

Book cover of Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth's Extinct Worlds by Thomas Halliday
Archaeology

Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth’s Extinct Worlds 

This book is an exploration of the Earth as it used to exist, the changes that have occurred during its history, and the ways that life has found to adapt―or not. It takes us from the savannahs of Pliocene Kenya to watch a python chase a group of australopithecines into an acacia tree; to a cliff overlooking the salt pans of the empty basin of what will be the Mediterranean Sea just as water from the Miocene Atlantic Ocean spills in; into the tropical forests of Eocene Antarctica; and under the shallow pools of Ediacaran Australia, where we glimpse the first microbial life.  […Learn More]

Book cover of The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans by Cynthia Barnett
Biological Sciences

The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

In The Sound of the Sea, acclaimed environmental author Cynthia Barnett blends cultural history and science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. Spiraling out from the great cities of shell that once rose in North America to the warming waters of the Maldives and the slave castles of Ghana, Barnett has created an unforgettable account of the world’s most iconic seashells. She begins with their childhood wonder, unwinds surprising histories like the origin of Shell Oil as a family business importing exotic shells, and charts what shells and the soft animals that build them are telling scientists about our warming, acidifying seas. […Learn More]

Book cover of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction by Michelle Nijhuis
Biological Sciences

Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

In the late nineteenth century, humans came at long last to a devastating realization: their rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving scores of animal species to extinction. In Beloved Beasts, acclaimed science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the history of the movement to protect and conserve other forms of life. From early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale, Nijhuis’s “spirited and engaging” account documents “the changes of heart that changed history” (Dan Cryer, Boston Globe). […Learn More]

Book cover of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Biological Sciences

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith dons a wet suit and journeys into the depths of consciousness in Other Minds

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. […Learn More]

Book Cover of Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
Biological Sciences

Fathoms: The World in the Whale

When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales reflect the condition of our oceans. Fathoms: The World in the Whale is “a work of bright and careful genius” (Robert Moor, New York Times bestselling author of On Trails), one that blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? […Learn More]

Biological Sciences

Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way

Animals plainly know where they’re going, but how they know has remained a stubborn mystery—until now. Supernavigators is a globe-trotting voyage of discovery alongside astounding animals of every stripe: dung beetles that steer by the Milky Way, box jellyfish that can see above the water (with a few of their twenty-four eyes), sea turtles that sense Earth’s magnetic field, and many more. David Barrie consults animal behaviorists and Nobel Prize–winning scientists to catch us up on the cutting edge of animal intelligence—revealing these wonders in a whole new light. […Learn More]

Biological Sciences

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction―a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. […Learn More]

Arctic & Antarctica

Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait

A groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology since the dawn of the industrial age.

Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.  […Learn More]

Biological Sciences

Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions — our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations — we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.  […Learn More]