Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 04

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Volume 24, No. 4
Pages 144 - 145


BOOK REVIEW • Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter

By Jeffrey C. Drazen  
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Ellen Prager’s book presents an entertaining account of the lives of many marine organisms. Its stories are understandable, fun to read, and focus on describing the curious attributes and mysterious lives ocean creatures lead. As the title indicates, the stories often concern reproduction, drug development, or the use of slime, but these threads in no way constrained the storytelling. Even though the preface includes the disclaimer that the book is not a comprehensive text, the coverage is impressive. It begins, quite logically, with a chapter on plankton, aptly named “The Invisible Crowd.” Ten chapters follow, including introductions to life on a coral reef, the various predation strategies of marine organisms, and, in a chapter entitled “X-Games,” some of the amazing ecological and physiological adaptations that marine animals have evolved for high performance and survival in the ocean. I was impressed with the diversity of life covered. Prager does not focus solely on glamorous marine mammals and fishes, although her stories about these animals are very interesting. There is an entire chapter on snails, a story about the amazing growth potential of kelp, a description of deep-sea bone-eating polychaete worms, and discussion about microbes at hydrothermal vents, just to name a few of the less-conventional organisms covered.


Drazen, J.C. 2011. Review of Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter, by E. Prager. Oceanography 24(4):144–145, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.109.

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