Seasons of the Sea
Size: 6 x 9
26 line drawings
Stand on any stretch of Florida coastline and what do you see? A few terns and gulls circling overhead, sandpipers rushing the outgoing tide to see what meals it uncovered, perhaps a dolphin leaping and playing. But the most interesting events happen beyond our sight. A fascinating but largely ignored world thrives within the coastal waters not more than a few yards or, at most, a few miles offshore in the vast Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
As the seasons change on land, so do they in the waters that surround Florida. Seasons of the Sea delves into what creatures come and go in each of the state’s six main regions—northeast, southeast, the Keys, southwest, the Big Bend, and the Panhandle. In the summer in northeast Florida, for example, sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and human activity is curtailed to protect the hatchlings when they make their run to the sea. In the Panhandle’s summer heat, cannonball jellyfish abound.
Accompanying the text are artist Jim Wilson’s charming illustrations showing, among other creatures, stingrays, tarpon, manatees, sharks, whales, crabs, and oysters in their natural habitat.
Florida’s sea and coastal creatures spawn, dance, and run to the beat of the seasons’ changing rhythms. Water temperature, salinity, amount of sunlight, and a host of other factors determined by the seasons tell sea animals the time of the year—and the task at hand. You’ll be delighted by the intimate details of these creatures’ lives.
o In the summer in northeast Florida, sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and human activity is curtailed to protect the hatchlings when they make their run to the sea. o Pregnant northern right whales spend the winter in northeast Florida waters. Their calves are 13 to 15 feet long and weigh between 1,700 and 1,800 pounds at birth. By the time they’re adults, they’ve grown up to 55 feet long and weigh nearly 100,000 pounds.
o When autumn brings cooler temperatures to coastal waters in the Keys, spiny lobsters collectively head for deeper, warmer water in grand style, marching single file toward their destination. The leader of this "lobster chain" changes frequently in order to keep a fresh, energetic lobster at the head of the line.
o Dolphin births peak during the spring around Cedar Key in the Big Bend. Each dolphin has a unique, signature whistle it uses to communicate with other dolphins. Each female’s whistle is quite different from her mother’s, while the whistle of a male is often nearly the same as his mother’s.
o In the Panhandle’s summer heat, cannonball jellyfish abound. Once considered a nuisance to local fisherman, cannonballs—now a delicacy in Asia in dried chip form—are big business.
Entertaining as well as enlightening, this book is a general guide to the annual progression of life and death in the Sunshine State’s coastal waters.
Accompanying the text are artist Jim Wilson’s charming illustrations showing stingrays, tarpon, manatees, mullet, whales, crabs, and oysters, among others, in their natural habitat.
The Florida Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a partnership among federal, state, and local governments, universities, research institutes, industry, and the public that was created as a result of the environmental awareness movement of the 1960s.
The National Sea Grant College Program receives direction from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through workshops, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations, citizens learn how advances in marine science can be used to create a better and more productive coastal environment.
Jay Humphreys served as the communications director for the Florida Sea Grant College Program at the University of Florida from 1989 to 1999. He’s now a freelance writer, and much of his writing is devoted to explaining complex scientific subjects in a way that can be easily understood by lay readers. A graduate of West Virginia University, Humphreys lives in St. Augustine with his wife, two sons, and two dogs.
Hardback $14.95 ISBN: 1-56164-226-6 Size: 6 x 9 160 Pages 26 line drawings