Hot Best Seller

Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

Availability: Ready to download

A pioneering marine biologist takes us down into the deep ocean to understand bioluminescence—the language of light that helps life communicate in the darkness—and what it tells us about the future of life on Earth. "Edith Widder's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration, and groundbreaking research. She's done things I dream of doing." —James Cameron Ed A pioneering marine biologist takes us down into the deep ocean to understand bioluminescence—the language of light that helps life communicate in the darkness—and what it tells us about the future of life on Earth. "Edith Widder's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration, and groundbreaking research. She's done things I dream of doing." —James Cameron Edith Widder's childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist was almost derailed in college, when complications from a surgery gone wrong caused temporary blindness. A new reality of shifting shadows drew her fascination to the power of light—as well as the importance of optimism. As her vision cleared, Widder found the intersection of her two passions in oceanic bioluminescence, a little-explored scientific field within Earth's last great unknown frontier: the deep ocean. With little promise of funding or employment, she leaped at the first opportunity to train as a submersible pilot and dove into the darkness. Widder's first journey into the deep ocean, in a diving suit that resembled a suit of armor, took her to a depth of eight hundred feet. She turned off the lights and witnessed breathtaking underwater fireworks: explosions of bioluminescent activity. Concerns about her future career vanished. She only wanted to know one thing: Why was there so much light down there? Below the Edge of Darkness takes readers deep into our planet's oceans as Widder pursues her questions about one of the most important and widely used forms of communication in nature. In the process, she reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of behaviors and animals, from microbes to leviathans, many never before seen or, like the legendary giant squid, never before filmed in their deep-sea lairs. Alongside Widder, we experience life-and-death equipment malfunctions and witness breakthroughs in technology and understanding, all set against a growing awareness of the deteriorating health of our largest and least understood ecosystem. A thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation, Below the Edge of Darkness reckons with the complicated and sometimes dangerous realities of exploration. Widder shows us how when we push our boundaries and expand our worlds, discovery and wonder follow. These are the ultimate keys to the ocean's salvation—and thus to our future on this planet.


Compare

A pioneering marine biologist takes us down into the deep ocean to understand bioluminescence—the language of light that helps life communicate in the darkness—and what it tells us about the future of life on Earth. "Edith Widder's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration, and groundbreaking research. She's done things I dream of doing." —James Cameron Ed A pioneering marine biologist takes us down into the deep ocean to understand bioluminescence—the language of light that helps life communicate in the darkness—and what it tells us about the future of life on Earth. "Edith Widder's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration, and groundbreaking research. She's done things I dream of doing." —James Cameron Edith Widder's childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist was almost derailed in college, when complications from a surgery gone wrong caused temporary blindness. A new reality of shifting shadows drew her fascination to the power of light—as well as the importance of optimism. As her vision cleared, Widder found the intersection of her two passions in oceanic bioluminescence, a little-explored scientific field within Earth's last great unknown frontier: the deep ocean. With little promise of funding or employment, she leaped at the first opportunity to train as a submersible pilot and dove into the darkness. Widder's first journey into the deep ocean, in a diving suit that resembled a suit of armor, took her to a depth of eight hundred feet. She turned off the lights and witnessed breathtaking underwater fireworks: explosions of bioluminescent activity. Concerns about her future career vanished. She only wanted to know one thing: Why was there so much light down there? Below the Edge of Darkness takes readers deep into our planet's oceans as Widder pursues her questions about one of the most important and widely used forms of communication in nature. In the process, she reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of behaviors and animals, from microbes to leviathans, many never before seen or, like the legendary giant squid, never before filmed in their deep-sea lairs. Alongside Widder, we experience life-and-death equipment malfunctions and witness breakthroughs in technology and understanding, all set against a growing awareness of the deteriorating health of our largest and least understood ecosystem. A thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation, Below the Edge of Darkness reckons with the complicated and sometimes dangerous realities of exploration. Widder shows us how when we push our boundaries and expand our worlds, discovery and wonder follow. These are the ultimate keys to the ocean's salvation—and thus to our future on this planet.

30 review for Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    I had high hopes for this one, but ultimately it fell far short of my expectations. This is a memoir by marine biologist Edith Widder. When she was in college, she had a terrifying experience; She was temporarily blinded after a risky surgery that nearly killed her. She uses this anecdote at the beginning of "Below the Edge of Darkness" to talk about eyes, eyesight, and the relationship both share with light, something that would become critically important later in her career as she began to foc I had high hopes for this one, but ultimately it fell far short of my expectations. This is a memoir by marine biologist Edith Widder. When she was in college, she had a terrifying experience; She was temporarily blinded after a risky surgery that nearly killed her. She uses this anecdote at the beginning of "Below the Edge of Darkness" to talk about eyes, eyesight, and the relationship both share with light, something that would become critically important later in her career as she began to focus on studying bioluminescence - or "living light" - in the deep sea. We landlubbers can see bioluminescence on summer evenings in the flicker of fireflies, but it's much more common in the ocean. It's not the kind of light that generates heat, it's a chemical light that creatures have developed for a variety of reasons, many of which we're still uncovering. It's been a part of Widder's work to discover why these creatures make light - a very energy-intense adaptation - and what certain flashes mean. In this memoir, Widder talks about her work and the trajectory of her career after her brief brush with blindness, including capturing a giant squid on camera in its natural habitat. It's all incredibly interesting information. The problem is that it's extremely heavy on the science and hops back and forth between academic writing and overly casual writing about her experiences. As such, I don't think this is a book for general audiences. I think it also has weaknesses as a completed product since that anecdote about her temporary blindness is one of the only things about her personal life included in the book - making it stick out in a sea of stories about her career - but it's also not really commented upon after it's discussed at the start of the book, which ultimately became the thing that disappointed me the most. I came into this book looking for some fascinating science - which I got, albeit in language above what I expected in a non-academic book - but I also figured the experience of losing her sight would inspire Widder to make some connections to her work. It seemed like fertile ground for her to dig deep into what the blindness meant to her and how it inspired her to seek light in the deep sea, but instead, she kept everything very surface-level. I'm heartbroken to think of what a gorgeous work this could have been had she used her background, her career, and her clearly amazing perspective and presented it with more emotion and more elegant prose. I thought this was going to be a new favorite, but I remain on the hunt for the next science/nature memoir that will strike the same chord as Lab Girl.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    It is a good memoir and in another time I would read every word. Now is not that time. Extremely graduate level physics, math, criteria of visual sciences amongst 100 other pertinent to the deep sea territory sciences. This is NOT easy read. I do appreciate the author's honesty and blunt obsession. But it's all too much of that obsession for me. Her early medical crisis near death experience (NDE) was somewhat similar to mine at 26. But she (at 18) reflects it entirely differently. Very brave and It is a good memoir and in another time I would read every word. Now is not that time. Extremely graduate level physics, math, criteria of visual sciences amongst 100 other pertinent to the deep sea territory sciences. This is NOT easy read. I do appreciate the author's honesty and blunt obsession. But it's all too much of that obsession for me. Her early medical crisis near death experience (NDE) was somewhat similar to mine at 26. But she (at 18) reflects it entirely differently. Very brave and courageous woman. That's a fact. I read more than 3/4ths of this but no rating. Obsessions are not a meld with me. It would be 3 stars at the most if I did. This is not a read for the non-math individual or for those who can't parse light sciences. Your eyes will glass over. If you enjoy preach/teach - then for you it will be a 4 star most likely. It is often depressing and at the same quirk unrealistically optimistic. She's got a huge association history too. Blue Planet and Fidel Castro included.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    A magnificent memoir by ocean scientist Edith Widder, pioneer in the study of bioluminescence. Blinded during surgery, she recovers and finds light and life in the ocean depths, her discoveries essential to protecting global seas. Captivating, inspiring and a must-read for fans of brilliant women changing the world. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 27 Jul 2021 #BelowtheEdgeofDarkness #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Random House Publishing Group - Random House, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dav

    This book is my jam. Mind blowing details. Crazy adventures. Frontiers of scientific exploration. The ocean is ~70% of the Earth's surface, but it is ~99% of the biosphere. This whole topside atmospheric place we call home is less than 1% of where all known life in the Universe is. Yet we know next to nothing about that life because the vast majority of it is deeper than we tend to look and in a dark inhospitable place where the act of observing is both incredibly challenging and makes the life s This book is my jam. Mind blowing details. Crazy adventures. Frontiers of scientific exploration. The ocean is ~70% of the Earth's surface, but it is ~99% of the biosphere. This whole topside atmospheric place we call home is less than 1% of where all known life in the Universe is. Yet we know next to nothing about that life because the vast majority of it is deeper than we tend to look and in a dark inhospitable place where the act of observing is both incredibly challenging and makes the life scatter to avoid the observations. We've barely even got decent maps of most of the ocean (the vast majority is super low resolution) and have probably physically visited (in person or with remote probes) more of the moon than this part of our planet. Most of what we know about marine life is limited to what was gleaned from examining dead samples that made it to the surface. We couldn't just observe in vivo like we can with the terrestrial flora and fauna . So Edie Widder back in the 60s pioneers the study of said life in its own environment using submersibles and she has pretty much (exactly?) been involved in every major advancement since then it seems, compiling a long list of exciting scientific and dangerous adventures along the way. I'm not even going to go into the crazy cool things she's figured out about marine biology and ecology because you should just read the book. Gendered terms aside, I feel compelled to end this review the same as the one for The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier which in a complementary way explores the unseen world on the ocean surface: Author is obviously a stud.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    4.5 only dinged because I wasn't by the ocean while listening to the audio... I have lived by the sea and adore ocean books while walking on the sand, instead I listened in a hot, smoke filled garden from the rampaging fires and it cut my enjoyment level. If at my beach house would have been a solid 5! 4.5 only dinged because I wasn't by the ocean while listening to the audio... I have lived by the sea and adore ocean books while walking on the sand, instead I listened in a hot, smoke filled garden from the rampaging fires and it cut my enjoyment level. If at my beach house would have been a solid 5!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    The following reviews have been shared by Text Publishing - publisher of Below the Edge of Darkness ‘Edith Widder’s subject is light itself—the manufacture of light by strange and eerie denizens of the deep sea—and her scintillating style is worthy of it…A book of marvels, marvellously written.’ Richard Dawkins ‘Edie’s story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration and groundbreaking research. As I’ve said many times, I’d have wrapped my submersible, the Deepsea Challenger, in bacon The following reviews have been shared by Text Publishing - publisher of Below the Edge of Darkness ‘Edith Widder’s subject is light itself—the manufacture of light by strange and eerie denizens of the deep sea—and her scintillating style is worthy of it…A book of marvels, marvellously written.’ Richard Dawkins ‘Edie’s story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration and groundbreaking research. As I’ve said many times, I’d have wrapped my submersible, the Deepsea Challenger, in bacon if it would have lured the elusive giant squid from the depths. In Below the Edge of Darkness, Edie tells you how she did it.’ James Cameron ‘My experience of exploring the deep ocean and its alien life with Edie Widder was fabulous. She enthralls us with many such stories in her book. I recommend it.’ Ray Dalio ‘Personal and page-turning, adventurous and awe-inspiring, Below the Edge of Darkness sparkles with the thrill of exploration and glows with an urgent plea for the future of our precious seas. Comparisons to Jacques Cousteau spring to mind, as Edith Widder shares the profound journey of her life—one as unique and important as the unexplored realms of our very own planet.’ Juli Berwald, author of Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone ‘Luminous—the topic, the heroic journey, and the author herself. Dive in with Edith Widder, trail-blazing scientist and explorer, as she reveals the galaxy of light and life in the universe below the surface of the sea, out-shining sceptical male colleagues with dignity, grace and a robust sense of humour.’ Sylvia Earle, oceanographer, founder of Mission Blue and National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence 'Widder illuminates life in the dark depths of the ocean in her fascinating debut…Informs and electrifies in equal measure.' Publishers Weekly 'Captivating…Widder's enthusiastic, joyful memoir amply describes the “wonder and exhilaration of discovery”. Inspiring for science-loving readers and environmentalists young and old.' Kirkus 'A superbly captivating writer, Widder fluently elucidates complex scientific inquiries and findings…She also renders the ludicrous, the terrifying, and the enthralling with equal vim and vigor…Widder dazzles readers with dramatic tales of expeditions…passionately and expertly arguing that it is urgently important for us to understand the oceans, which are severely imperiled and essential to our survival.' Booklist (starred review) ‘Widder’s passion is so contagious…Her enthu­siasm is matched by her sense of humor…Readers of Below the Edge of Darkness will become staunch champi­ons of the spectacular bioluminescent world that thrives in the ocean’s depths.’ BookPage ‘This book illustrates the careful, curious, years-long quest of a scientist in love with her work. Widder peppers her text with witty asides as footnotes that invite readers into her passion. Highly recommended.’ Library Journal ‘Stylish, eloquent…A unique view of the denizens of the deep.’ Guardian ‘Enthralling...The science throughout the book is fascinating as Widder repeatedly revolutionizes her field, but there is much more than science here. Widder is also an explorer, an inventor and a captivating storyteller whose life has been uncommonly adventurous, both on land and at sea.’ StarTribune ‘A thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation, Below the Edge of Darkness reckons with the complicated and sometimes dangerous realities of exploration. Widder shows us how when we push our boundaries and expand our worlds, discovery and wonder follow.’ Book Riot ‘This autobiography is an adventure story as well as a scientific one, as Widder navigates tense equipment malfunctions while exploring questions about our largest ecosystem, one that is increasingly threatened.’ Gazette ‘Gripping…A thrilling blend of hard science and high adventure…Often the prose glints.’ New York Times

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ula Tardigrade

    What is a recipe for a great popular science book? A lot of adventures, thrill of discovery and hair raising experiences seasoned with a healthy dose of mind-blowing scientific facts and mixed with a moving memoir. All this and more you can find in this brilliant volume. I have to admit that I chose it because of my interest in science rather than familiarity with the author, so I was pleasantly surprised not only by her accomplishments but also beautiful, witty, tongue-in-cheek style (remember t What is a recipe for a great popular science book? A lot of adventures, thrill of discovery and hair raising experiences seasoned with a healthy dose of mind-blowing scientific facts and mixed with a moving memoir. All this and more you can find in this brilliant volume. I have to admit that I chose it because of my interest in science rather than familiarity with the author, so I was pleasantly surprised not only by her accomplishments but also beautiful, witty, tongue-in-cheek style (remember to read the footnotes, it’s pure gold!). Edith Widder spent her life in the lab and on the ocean, fully dedicated to marine biology, never losing her curiosity and spirit, despite leaking submarines (with Hitchcockian touch, she starts the book with such a scene), lack of funding nor fights with TV producers. In some ways this book reminded me of my favorite ‘Lab Girl’ by Hope Jahren, as both are inspiring stories of female scientists, though here the balance between describing the research and memoir is reversed. And that’s a good thing because bioluminescence and deep sea ecology are little known but fascinating topics, especially with such an exceptional guide as Edith Widder. Many thanks to the publisher, Random House, and NetGalley for the advance copy of this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Stevens

    I wanted to like this book. I have never read a book about the deep sea and I was FASCINATED with some of the information Dr. Widder discussed. Regardless of this book, Dr. Widder is a badass. She succeeds in a male-dominated industry and is one of the best in her field. I liked learning about her throughout the book. However, the overall writing felt very scattered. We’d be talking about an interesting deep sea creature, then all of a sudden jump to Dr. Widders childhood, then back to a sea cre I wanted to like this book. I have never read a book about the deep sea and I was FASCINATED with some of the information Dr. Widder discussed. Regardless of this book, Dr. Widder is a badass. She succeeds in a male-dominated industry and is one of the best in her field. I liked learning about her throughout the book. However, the overall writing felt very scattered. We’d be talking about an interesting deep sea creature, then all of a sudden jump to Dr. Widders childhood, then back to a sea creature. The combination of memoir and science can work well, but it was just not quite the best fit here. I would have preferred less jumping back and forth between her life and the creatures every paragraph or so. Again, that is my preference, so perhaps it is not yours! Regardless, this book was full of unique information and told the story of someone I admire. Thank you Net Galley for the ARC!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    What a fantastic book about bioluminescent ocean animals and a woman scientist breaking barriers in a mostly male world. Part autobiography, part science the main focus is on the research and exploration of the ocean’s waters and bioluminescent animals in particular. This is an exciting read with amazing discoveries (yes, the Kraken is real!), disparaging tv documentary teams (slanted science for ratings), and submersible mishaps (although most dives do go well). Widder’s research and how she go What a fantastic book about bioluminescent ocean animals and a woman scientist breaking barriers in a mostly male world. Part autobiography, part science the main focus is on the research and exploration of the ocean’s waters and bioluminescent animals in particular. This is an exciting read with amazing discoveries (yes, the Kraken is real!), disparaging tv documentary teams (slanted science for ratings), and submersible mishaps (although most dives do go well). Widder’s research and how she goes about trying to capture the bioluminescent animals on film and study them in the wild are fascinating tales. The few mishaps that go awry lead to moments of intense reading. And don’t skip the footnotes! They are extra nuggets that usually contain a bit of a joke. I’m not sure when the last science book made me laugh this much. The book did have message: we have barely explored the ocean waters, which do cover more surface of the earth than land, and we need to do more, much more. Widder juxtaposes ocean explorations and research to space exploration, which gets funding and attention on an extreme scale comparatively. We need to learn more about the animals and environment in the oceans before it’s too late. There’s some really neat stuff down there, we just need to find it! Book rating: 4.5 stars Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for an uncorrected electronic advance review copy of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I saw “sea sparkle” for the first time during a moonlight kayak off the Outer Banks of North Carolina a couple of months ago and was fascinated enough by it that the topic of bioluminescence would have been sufficient to make me enjoy this book. (Usually that kind of bioluminescence is found in the Caribbean, but apparently some of the plankton were blown in by a hurricane and found the North Carolina conditions suitable enough that they set up housekeeping there.) Dr. Widder has had an incredib I saw “sea sparkle” for the first time during a moonlight kayak off the Outer Banks of North Carolina a couple of months ago and was fascinated enough by it that the topic of bioluminescence would have been sufficient to make me enjoy this book. (Usually that kind of bioluminescence is found in the Caribbean, but apparently some of the plankton were blown in by a hurricane and found the North Carolina conditions suitable enough that they set up housekeeping there.) Dr. Widder has had an incredible career, and the book is worth reading for the science alone. But I also loved her passion for exploration, the awe she finds in the world we live in, her dedication and pragmatism regarding climate change, pollution, over-harvesting and the other ways in which humans are decimating their oceans, and her optimism that we will be able to improve things. As she concluded by channeling the Mark Watney character in Andy Weir’s The Martian: “We’re gonna have to science the shit out of it!” And somehow she makes me believe that we can. Highly recommend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Russell

    Illuminating memoir of Widder's remarkable career as a marine biologist investigating bioluminescence. Prior to reading this, I knew a few fish near the bottom of the ocean used biologically-generated light to attract prey, but had no idea how pervasive light generating was among fish living in the middle layers of the ocean. It was fascinating to read about how she and her various teams designed experimental platforms for use deep in the water, and about the expeditions they mounted to gather i Illuminating memoir of Widder's remarkable career as a marine biologist investigating bioluminescence. Prior to reading this, I knew a few fish near the bottom of the ocean used biologically-generated light to attract prey, but had no idea how pervasive light generating was among fish living in the middle layers of the ocean. It was fascinating to read about how she and her various teams designed experimental platforms for use deep in the water, and about the expeditions they mounted to gather information about these forms of life. It ends with an impassioned plea that we spend at least as much energy and resources investigating the oceans, so that we can understand them before we destroy them with pollution, warming, and overharvesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    Thank you Random House for the free book. After a lifetime of remarkable discoveries, Edie Widder's still awestruck by the vast bioluminescence lighting the ocean's depths. Her new memoir captures that excitement, and it's a passionate plea to pay attention to science. Thank you Random House for the free book. After a lifetime of remarkable discoveries, Edie Widder's still awestruck by the vast bioluminescence lighting the ocean's depths. Her new memoir captures that excitement, and it's a passionate plea to pay attention to science.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    “Drag a net behind a ship almost anywhere in the ocean below the edge of darkness, and most of the animals you bring up in that net will make light. Given the volume of the open ocean and the vast watery realm between the ocean’s surface and its bottom, which constitutes the largest ecosystem on the planet, we’re talking about a world teeming with light makers….To put this in perspective, if most of the animals in the ocean are bioluminescent (from single-celled bacteria to colossal squid), then “Drag a net behind a ship almost anywhere in the ocean below the edge of darkness, and most of the animals you bring up in that net will make light. Given the volume of the open ocean and the vast watery realm between the ocean’s surface and its bottom, which constitutes the largest ecosystem on the planet, we’re talking about a world teeming with light makers….To put this in perspective, if most of the animals in the ocean are bioluminescent (from single-celled bacteria to colossal squid), then a majority of the creatures on the planet are communicating using language-of-light dialects that we don’t comprehend.” Rachel Carson: “The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities. If they are not there, science cannot create them. If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.” This scientist should be known by everyone, but this is the first I am hearing of her, which is additional testimony to the lament she has that ocean exploration has garnered a tiny percentage of funds versus the billions, gazillions on space exploration, which is a shame. Tourism into space vs tourism into the waters of the deep right here on our level teeming with life and that may have levels of value Mars just will not. (I support both but want ocean sciences to get more!) I have to confess I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was younger, so am not quite unbiased, and still love the ocean and everything about it; if I look closely at what I didn’t like about the book, and why it slowed me down in reading it- it was the boring info about obtaining funding and how this machine worked and they fixed this or that about it, and the way they had to adjust this or that dial or camera. Some of the science was dense too, and just little poetry unless talking about the “living lights.” But she changed the world and she did it by being a marine biologist who invented things, who had visions of how to capture and prove there was a “living light” that is a language, and worked with an engineer to make it happen, so it is just my bias looking for more poetry like Rachel Carson said was inherent in the ocean. The author has a sense of humor, and was “forced” to call it a memoir, awkwardly, and it lacks poetry and personal information, but she adventured, man, she adventured and explored and did so at a time where women were just starting to break into science. If anyone can be called a badass, she is it. I watched 2 of her TED talks, highly recommended, she may be a better speaker than writer, because I had to see the visuals of what she is describing. It is not something I expect to see, the deep sea bioluminescence, but hopefully one day can do some kayaking on surface bioluminescence. But the thought of it, the thought of submerging into the deeps, turning off the lights, and seeing light shows, living light shows, like stars and constellations and galaxies, but talking to each other in a ways the cold, dead universe does not, or that we have not evolved enough to to understand yet, that is a beautiful mystery that stays with me. Nature is hidden, says Annie Dillard, and it can be one show per customer, if that with the mysteries of the unexplored ocean, but this “living light” show was first seen and documented by her, and she should be a legend. Fireworks are an extraordinary art form—light painted onto the black canvas of a night sky. Each brushstroke is a splash of photons defined not just by color and contour but also by movement through space and time. Transience is what saves these spectacles from the kitschiness of a black velvet painting, as each burst of light morphs from moment to moment, rocketing up, blooming out, cascading down—incandescent for mere moments before disappearing into nothingness. Just as fireworks are a kind of light painting, so is bioluminescence. But instead of the product of incandescence and human ingenuity, bioluminescence is cold chemical light, a consequence of millions of years of evolution resulting in fantastic light-emitting creatures with evocative names like crystal jelly, cockeyed squid, bearded seadevil, shining tubeshoulder, stoplight fish, and velvet belly lantern shark. Their bodies are adorned with all manner of light-emitting structures—nozzles that spew liquid blue flame, incredibly complex light organs that look like flesh-encrusting jewels but behave optically like eyes that emit light instead of collecting it, and absurdly elaborate glowing appendages that resemble abstract sculptures…It’s true that there were evanescent sprays and swirls and squirts of flashiness glittering in the darkness that resembled the “light jazz” of a fireworks display, but they weren’t every color of the rainbow. Instead, it was a mixture of the most brilliant blues ever to grace an artist’s palette—azure, cobalt, cerulean, lapis, neon—supernatural hues, emitted rather than reflected light. In the course of human history, our pattern has been exploration followed by exploitation, but in the ocean we have managed to reverse the order—massively exploiting the ocean’s resources before exploring what’s actually there. In the past sixty years, we have altered the ocean more than in all of the preceding two hundred thousand years of human existence. Warming waters and melting ice are potentially altering the flow of the great rivers in the sea like the Gulf Stream. More than sixty miles wide and a half-mile deep, the Gulf Stream transports a volume of water that exceeds that of all the rivers in the world by twenty-five times, carrying warm water from the equator along the east coast of North America and across the great Atlantic to northwestern Europe. The other rationale for our inaction is the simple fact that the swelling drumbeat of decimation engenders such a sense of helplessness that people want to plug their ears and cover their eyes. But the beat goes on, growing ever louder, with the hope that if we just point out how truly dire the situation is becoming, the appropriate checks and balances will be brought to bear, like taxing carbon and switching from burning fossil fuels to alternatives like solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear energy. It has been said that Martin Luther King, Jr., did not mobilize the civil rights movement by preaching, “I have a nightmare.” Nonetheless, that’s what many on the environmental front lines are doing. We need a different outlook, one that focuses on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Exploration has always been the key to our survival, which is why I believe we need explorers now more than ever. Explorers are, by necessity, optimists who have to see beyond imagined limits to find a way forward. Our survival on this planet depends on fostering a greater sense of connection to the living world, and wonderment is key to forging that link. I have long believed that bioluminescence provides a means to reveal the wonder in this unseen world to a public that is alarmingly unaware and, thus, largely indifferent to what makes life possible on our planet. I believe it is a light capable of exciting the imagination and firing the inborn curiosity that defines the core of what it means to be human. I hope it can fire the imaginations of the next generation of explorers and in so doing provide a beacon of hope for the future of life on Earth. Environmentalist Rachel Carson once said, “One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again? It is easy to understand why a tree is the living thing most often used to symbolize the human need to connect to nature. Poets and conservationists pen odes to “a tree called life” because it is a living being that nearly everyone has experienced firsthand. But how do we connect to nature on the much broader scale upon which we are now impacting it? We live on an ocean planet, but we have very little understanding of what that actually means. Ours is a living, breathing water world, filled with creatures whose existences are so utterly alien to our own, it’s a significant struggle to relate to them. (less) If you try to take a firefly apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking firefly. However, holding it gives at least one clue to its sorcery. Bioluminescence is cold light. This seems surprising, because, based on our everyday experiences with the sun, candle flames, and incandescent lightbulbs, we associate light with heat. The ability to produce light is so critical to survival that it has been selected for independently more than fifty times during evolutionary history. This is known as “convergent evolution,” where creatures that aren’t closely related evolve similar traits in order to adapt to similar circumstances. although sharks and dolphins share analogous streamlined body shapes and fins of comparable form and function, this is not because they are closely related genetically; sharks, after all, are fish, while dolphins are mammals. Rather, that particular body plan works well for maneuvering through water and therefore provides an advantage—allowing them to catch more food and evade more predators and thus survive long enough to pass on their DNA. It seems wrong that the color of a thing is defined by a negative—in other words, what it doesn’t absorb. Chlorophyll appears green because it absorbs red and blue, using the energy from these colors to make photosynthesis possible. The green that reflects back to our eyes is the unuseful stuff—basically discarded photons. Most of us live our lives with our feet planted firmly on the ground and are out of touch with the true nature of our watery world. Only 29 percent of the surface area of Earth is land; the rest is water. Oceanographers often try to alert their fellow Earthlings to the significance of their research by using such numbers. Or they describe how we have better maps of the back side of the moon than we do of the bottom of the ocean. But even that disparity misses the point, because it’s thinking in just two dimensions. The three-dimensional reality is that, while living space on land extends into the tallest trees and many feet beneath the surface, it is still an absurdly thin layer and represents a tiny volume compared with the staggering enormity of the ocean, which encompasses more than 99.5 percent of the living space on the planet. And this is no empty void. These waters teem with life, but our experience of this largest of Earth’s ecosystems is scant and biased by the limitations of our tools for exploration. It’s remarkable that the primary way we know about life in the midwater is by dragging nets behind ships. How many other branches of science can you name that still depend on technology thousands of years old to gather data? It takes more than twenty minutes for the human eye to dark adapt, so I turned out the lights, prepared to wait a while before being able to see much, but no delay was necessary. Instantly I was engulfed in what looked like a field of stars. Everywhere I looked, there were glowing motes. The density was like what you might see in a desert sky on a moonless night, but these stars weren’t static; they were swirling all around me like a three-dimensional version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. My breath caught in my throat. The phrase “mermaids’ tears” came to mind. Their light was not a steady glow or an abrupt flash, but rather a slow, deliberate illumination, like turning up lights with a dimmer switch, only these lights didn’t switch on synchronously, but in a propagated sequence. Mixed in with all these mermaids’ tears were other, less abundant flashes and glows, small puffs of what looked like luminous blue galactic clouds, and distant orbs that would glow brightly for three seconds and then wink out. Monterey Bay, home to one of the world’s most spectacular submarine canyons—comparable to the Grand Canyon in depth, but with steep escarpments and multitier plateaus studded with all manner of marine life. The canyon also serves to funnel deep-sea animals from offshore up the chasm, potentially providing a greater concentration of the midwater animals that we wanted to observe. Inside the sphere I had a supersensitive video camera*1 that I hoped would be capable of recording the bioluminescence outside the sub. Up until this point, the only people who had ever seen bioluminescence in the deep ocean had been those lucky few who had been able to dive in a submersible and had bothered to turn out the lights. I badly wanted some way of recording it so I wouldn’t have to depend on my visual memory of fleeting flashes, and also so I could share something I considered one of the most beautiful natural phenomena on the planet with people completely unaware of its existence. Since jellies were prevalent throughout the water column and almost universally bioluminescent, I decided to focus on them. To determine what kind of display a particular jelly produced, I would steer the sub until I had the jelly lined up between the acrylic sphere and the screen. Some firm-bodied round jellies emitted a perfect necklace of light when they hit the screen. By contrast, an exquisite crystalline jelly that looked like the top half of a hot cross bun fringed by hundreds of threadlike tentacles did something very unexpected. Whenever I lined it up to strike the screen, it would react to the water currents by contracting its margin into sharp folds, so when it made contact, it was recognizable by its un-jelly-like shape, sometimes forming a near-perfect square of light. Even more remarkable than some of the odd shapes were the incredibly elaborate flash patterns. There were comb jellies generating bands of light that propagated along their comb rows, creating a delicate tracing of a figure eight. Funding for deep-sea exploration in general and bioluminescence in particular has always been a tiny fraction of that for space exploration. In fact, the only reason my interest in bioluminescence turned out to be fundable was that the Soviet Union was also interested in it. Had that not been the case, I doubt my adventures would have been possible. SEAS SOWED WITH FIRE Ancient navigators could read the sea in the same way that the Inuit people read snow.*1 Route finders drew on not just a lifetime of study but many lifetimes, passed on from one generation to the next. This knowledge was central to transforming the seas from hindrances into highways for exploration and opening up new frontiers for settlement and trade. Knowledge was power, which is why, in some ancient cultures, navigators were revered as priests and their knowledge was zealously guarded as state secrets. If you want to know what it’s like to swim through a minefield of living light, you can find out by visiting a bioluminescent bay. There are several in Puerto Rico… When the vessel stops, dangle your legs over the side and you will be immediately rewarded with shimmering sequined boots—a scintillating aura that surrounds your limbs, enticing you to kick more and more vigorously until you are gleefully splashing like a toddler in the bathtub, creating a watery eruption of brilliant sapphire. If you are lucky enough to be some place where swimming is allowed, then you can go ahead and dive in.*8 As you swim, you will be enveloped in a twinkling halo of glittering stardust. Wiggle your fingers in front of your face and watch sparks fly off your fingertips. It’ll feel like you have been magically granted superpowers. You have! Life surrounds us and nature is everywhere, but too often invisible to our eyes. Here, the hidden energy of life is revealed and the response is universal—a heady fusion of joy and awe. Marine bioluminescence is a comparable evolutionary success story. Why? How did there come to be so many light makers in the ocean? more than 90 percent of the fish he collected in his nets were bioluminescent. When you do the math, it turns out that we’re not talking about mere billions or even trillions but possibly quadrillions of bioluminescent fish in the ocean. If you measure success in terms of numbers, then bioluminescent fish are the most successful vertebrates on the planet. There are also shrimp and squid, as well as plankton (like dinoflagellates and copepods) and untold numbers of fragile jelly animals, that are part of this light-spangled bouillabaisse. what we witnessed when we turned out the lights and sat quietly in the dark. Whenever I did this in the midwater, as long as I went dead still I saw nothing—no spontaneous bioluminescence, just absolute and complete blackness. But here, on the seafloor, there was frequent luminescence, not from the detritivores living on the bottom but from plankton carried by the current, which were mechanically stimulated when they bumped into the detritivores. But what about the giants that inhabit the deep midwater, where the primary food is fecal pellets and marine snow? Here the food content is so dilute, it’s the equivalent of a few grains of rice in a cubic meter (264 gallons) of seawater. To survive on such a diet, animals have to sieve through an enormous quantity of liquid—anywhere from one hundred thousand to ten million times their own body volume per day! In interviews, I tried to emphasize how little we have actually explored of our own planet. Based on the large quantities of giant squid beaks found in sperm whale stomachs and given how readily we filmed them with the Medusa, it appears that giant squid aren’t rare; they’re just shy. We only knew about their existence because they happen to float when they die. How many other amazing creatures are down there that we don’t know about because what little exploring we have done we’ve done wrong? These squid are highly adaptable. They seem to have a plethora of feeding strategies, shifting prey preference as the situation warrants—from fish to krill to each other. They can tolerate extremely low oxygen levels and, to some degree, may actually be beneficiaries of climate change. Their range in the eastern North Pacific Ocean has recently expanded, and they have invaded waters along the central California coast and been spotted as far north as the Gulf of Alaska. Their extreme adaptability positions them as potential survivors in a rapidly changing world, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that they have developed a way to detect and avoid motorized fishing fleets. Back on deck, I was practically levitating with excitement. What fantastic, mysterious creatures these squid are! We had been granted the oh-so-rare opportunity to observe them in their inner sanctum, and, as so often happens, the experience created more questions than it answered. Gaining a better understanding of how this bit of ocean works relates directly to understanding how Spaceship Earth functions. Buckminster Fuller, a man of many titles, including inventor, architect, systems theorist, and futurist, popularized that phrase to emphasize what it means to live in a biological system with finite resources. If we damage our life-support machinery beyond repair, there is no possibility of a resupply ship showing up in the nick of time to save us. With that in mind, you might think that the importance of understanding how our world operates should be self-evident, but experience suggests otherwise. We humans have a really unfortunate history of not understanding the value of what we’ve got until it’s gone.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kit Pfeiffer

    Envigorating read, opening my eyes to a vast world "below the edge of darkness" in the sea. Good storytelling, clear explanations of dense science. I highly recommend this! Envigorating read, opening my eyes to a vast world "below the edge of darkness" in the sea. Good storytelling, clear explanations of dense science. I highly recommend this!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela McCollister

    Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley: This was a phenomenal memoir of a scientist who has spent her professional life searching for bioluminescent light in our vastly under-explored oceans. She suffered a serious illness that almost killed her and could have wrecked her plans but she persevered and has led an inspiring life. I love marine biology so it was amazing to learn more about this subject and to have an inside peek into what this research is really like was such a bonus. I received Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley: This was a phenomenal memoir of a scientist who has spent her professional life searching for bioluminescent light in our vastly under-explored oceans. She suffered a serious illness that almost killed her and could have wrecked her plans but she persevered and has led an inspiring life. I love marine biology so it was amazing to learn more about this subject and to have an inside peek into what this research is really like was such a bonus. I received a vicarious thrill when she was wrote about her work on the expedition in 2013 to find and film giant squid because I remember that documentary like it was yesterday. I remember being so excited that it was the woman scientist who was the first to be successful with her equipment compared to the other scientists on board. With an easy, conversational writing style and plenty of wit, this book is a must-read for anyone with even the slightest interest in marine biology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sneed III

    Edith Widder's new book not only adds a much-needed, ahem, depth to our understanding of the oceans, it provides an entertaining, personal, and insightful narrative of a scientist's journey. In a time when science is so maligned and discounted, Widder reminds us that science is basically just pursuing our curiosity and fascination with this incredible world we are lucky enough to live in. In between recounting her almost unlimited encounters and adventures with everything from comb jellies to gi Edith Widder's new book not only adds a much-needed, ahem, depth to our understanding of the oceans, it provides an entertaining, personal, and insightful narrative of a scientist's journey. In a time when science is so maligned and discounted, Widder reminds us that science is basically just pursuing our curiosity and fascination with this incredible world we are lucky enough to live in. In between recounting her almost unlimited encounters and adventures with everything from comb jellies to giant squid, she shares remarkable information about the nature of our undersea world, a world that we have still only begun to explore but is in imminent danger from human activities.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan Babin

    I was so excited to read this book when I saw it on NetGalley! Below the Edge of Darkness is a really amazing memoir into bioluminescence and finding light and life in the ocean. This book is really mesmerizing and thrilling with just enough scientific to really keep you interested.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    NY Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/bo... Maybe? TMI about her personal & health problems ?? Read more reviews first. NY Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/bo... Maybe? TMI about her personal & health problems ?? Read more reviews first.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Random House Publishing Group- Random House for an advanced copy of this science memoir. One of the great thrills is reading a book about smart people doing smart things and making a difference in the world either scientifically or physically and having a fun time while doing it. A new publisher trend I am enjoying is the popular science/memoirs that seem to be appearing. Especially the books where you can tell the writer is having as much fun writing as My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Random House Publishing Group- Random House for an advanced copy of this science memoir. One of the great thrills is reading a book about smart people doing smart things and making a difference in the world either scientifically or physically and having a fun time while doing it. A new publisher trend I am enjoying is the popular science/memoirs that seem to be appearing. Especially the books where you can tell the writer is having as much fun writing as they did researching and doing the science, and love to explain to laypeople what and how they do. Edith Widder in Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea does that and more. Dr. Widder starts the book on a tension filled moment, goes into some science, then into ther childhood, and more science. I enjoyed this as it made the science less daunting, too many facts sometimes get in the way of a good narrative. In addition the scenes of her growing up and learning about the world, her sharing of her medical problems in college, plus the chauvinism she had to deal with later and her sheer persistence at becoming the person she became is interesting in itself. And inspiring. You learn a lot about the creatures under the seas, and the fact that they might not have much time left, if we continue to treat the world the way we do. However Dr. Widder has some hope and that comes across too. For fans of Lab Girl, or for fans of a different kind of memoir, more science based than look at what I've done. Without a doubt a great read for those that love the sea and all the creatures that glow and shine underneath it. Oh and read the footnotes, there is a lot of interesting material in them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike Violano

    Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder is thrilling and inspiring as a marine biologist memoir and so enlightening as a course on life and exploration of the deep ocean. Oceans account for 70% of the earth; there are more ecosystems in the ocean than on land. The deep ocean, by far the largest ecosystem on the planet, has only been explored in my lifetime. The creatures the deep adapt and live in absolute darkness; they create their own light—bioluminescence-- to hunt prey, find mates and ca Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder is thrilling and inspiring as a marine biologist memoir and so enlightening as a course on life and exploration of the deep ocean. Oceans account for 70% of the earth; there are more ecosystems in the ocean than on land. The deep ocean, by far the largest ecosystem on the planet, has only been explored in my lifetime. The creatures the deep adapt and live in absolute darkness; they create their own light—bioluminescence-- to hunt prey, find mates and camouflage themselves. As an ocean explorer author Widder relates a number of frightening near death experiences of leaky submersibles and deep sea diving suit mishaps. However, these episodes never deterred from her research and quest to unravel and understand the mysteries of the deep. Among many favorite quotes is “In the course of human history, our pattern has been exploration followed by exploitation, but in the ocean we have managed to reverse the order—massively exploiting the ocean’s resources before exploring what’s actually there”. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) This work is a memoir of a marine biologist who spends her life studying bio-luminescence and life in the deep oceans. Her backstory is interesting enough, in that she was almost paralyzed and blinded as a young adult. Yet, she overcame that and moved through life, looking to make a dent in the previously under-studied world of the deep ocean. Perhaps her biggest claims to fame are the documenting the first instance of a live giant squid on camera. She is also a big proponent of incr (Audiobook) This work is a memoir of a marine biologist who spends her life studying bio-luminescence and life in the deep oceans. Her backstory is interesting enough, in that she was almost paralyzed and blinded as a young adult. Yet, she overcame that and moved through life, looking to make a dent in the previously under-studied world of the deep ocean. Perhaps her biggest claims to fame are the documenting the first instance of a live giant squid on camera. She is also a big proponent of increased study of the deep oceans and environmental protection. Widder did have some good insights about the world of the documentary, how it can offer great publicity, but sometimes at the sacrifice of fact. A decent listen (not narrated by the author), but probably not one worth the purchase or the re-read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    Edith Widder's memoir is a wonderful look at the science of the deep sea, specifically bioluminescence. It's filled with fascinating tidbits about ocean creatures, how light and sight work, the process of communicating science to the general population (loved the peek into how TV documentaries were made), and working as a female scientist. There are also terrifying white-knuckle stories of working in a submersible and everything that can go wrong. Widder's passion for marine life is infectious an Edith Widder's memoir is a wonderful look at the science of the deep sea, specifically bioluminescence. It's filled with fascinating tidbits about ocean creatures, how light and sight work, the process of communicating science to the general population (loved the peek into how TV documentaries were made), and working as a female scientist. There are also terrifying white-knuckle stories of working in a submersible and everything that can go wrong. Widder's passion for marine life is infectious and I loved her closing message about fighting climate change with hope. She's an incredibly inspiring woman. I listened to this as an audiobook and Allyson Ryan is a great narrator: she conveys the wonder of the writing so well. Highly recommend this book for anyone interested in our oceans.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    Two books were recently published about the deep ocean (The Brilliant Abyss by Helen Scales and Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder) and listening to these back to back will likely be forever linked in my memory as being essentially the same book, but there’s so much diversity and subjects to discuss that the Venn diagram of the topics don’t completely overlap. The latter is more about the effects of bioluminescence which was a fairly fascinating topic, while the former was a more general Two books were recently published about the deep ocean (The Brilliant Abyss by Helen Scales and Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder) and listening to these back to back will likely be forever linked in my memory as being essentially the same book, but there’s so much diversity and subjects to discuss that the Venn diagram of the topics don’t completely overlap. The latter is more about the effects of bioluminescence which was a fairly fascinating topic, while the former was a more general discussion of deep sea life. Both are very interesting, although Below the Edge of Darkness was probably marginally a bit more interesting albeit with a bit too much on the personal life observations.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael D

    I was fascinated …… by the NY Times review of this book. Being an older gent, I have an approximate 75 page “trial period” for any book, during which I had better be captivated, or I move on to my lengthy list of “next” books. While the author has an interesting subject, presented in a concise, authoritative manner, it is simply boring. For whatever reason, I could not stay focused, and forced myself to read it. Not good. For those of you who are marine biologists, or any sort of nautical scient I was fascinated …… by the NY Times review of this book. Being an older gent, I have an approximate 75 page “trial period” for any book, during which I had better be captivated, or I move on to my lengthy list of “next” books. While the author has an interesting subject, presented in a concise, authoritative manner, it is simply boring. For whatever reason, I could not stay focused, and forced myself to read it. Not good. For those of you who are marine biologists, or any sort of nautical scientist, this is your book. For those of you who cover a broad spectrum of interests, genres and periods/eras (me), this is a tough read that requires your attention and commitment. If you a member of the latter group, move on.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Incredible. If I wasn't a full time mom to littles I might have been convinced to become a Marine Biologist. Widder explains the beautiful light under the ocean in such a beautiful and mysterious way. I was so entranced. I loved learning about her accident and how that influenced her discovery of the importance of light and vision. Definitely recommend this book. Fair warning, it's difficult to read when you are tired or with distractions around. I had to reread paragraphs several times. This wa Incredible. If I wasn't a full time mom to littles I might have been convinced to become a Marine Biologist. Widder explains the beautiful light under the ocean in such a beautiful and mysterious way. I was so entranced. I loved learning about her accident and how that influenced her discovery of the importance of light and vision. Definitely recommend this book. Fair warning, it's difficult to read when you are tired or with distractions around. I had to reread paragraphs several times. This was a higher level read than I am used to reading. It definitely stretched me and gave me more knowledge. I received a free ebook copy from Netgally in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This memoir was delightful to read, I've admired Edith Widder for such a long time and this book is proof of why she's such a wonderful scientist. Passionate and driven for her love of the ocean she didn't fail to make me fall in love with the depths of our earth, and the magic of bioluminiscence. Reading about how her and her team managed to capture the giant squid on camera made me get goosebumps all over. She's an artist of the engineering world, coming up with dazzling ideas like the Medusa. As This memoir was delightful to read, I've admired Edith Widder for such a long time and this book is proof of why she's such a wonderful scientist. Passionate and driven for her love of the ocean she didn't fail to make me fall in love with the depths of our earth, and the magic of bioluminiscence. Reading about how her and her team managed to capture the giant squid on camera made me get goosebumps all over. She's an artist of the engineering world, coming up with dazzling ideas like the Medusa. As a future scientist myself I will follow her advice by having an optimistic mindset, and keep on sciencing the sh*t out of any problem that comes my way.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I have seen that some readers didn't like this book because it's (either or both) not enough about Widder's personal life or too much science-y stuff, but I loved it. Widder says in the afterward that she didn't want to write a memoir, and it's clear that she believes (rightly, in my opinion) that her work and her discoveries are way more important. Anyway, it has lovely pictures, and I was slowed down in my otherwise compulsive reading by looking up images and videos of sea creatures that she d I have seen that some readers didn't like this book because it's (either or both) not enough about Widder's personal life or too much science-y stuff, but I loved it. Widder says in the afterward that she didn't want to write a memoir, and it's clear that she believes (rightly, in my opinion) that her work and her discoveries are way more important. Anyway, it has lovely pictures, and I was slowed down in my otherwise compulsive reading by looking up images and videos of sea creatures that she doesn't depict. If you have any interest in the ocean--and, as Widder convincingly argues, we all should, as its deterioration is likely to bring about our own--you'll enjoy this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    INCREDIBLE! Edith Widder is amazing. She is a deep-sea explorer, submersible pilot, conservationist, and one heck of a story teller! If you don't know Dr. Widder, then now is the time. In her new book, The Edge of Darkness you will follow her extraordinary and exciting career. The book is filled with true stories about her deep-sea exploration and amazing discoveries. It is an exciting read and includes so many beautiful photos. If you love the the ocean, watching nature documentaries, or want t INCREDIBLE! Edith Widder is amazing. She is a deep-sea explorer, submersible pilot, conservationist, and one heck of a story teller! If you don't know Dr. Widder, then now is the time. In her new book, The Edge of Darkness you will follow her extraordinary and exciting career. The book is filled with true stories about her deep-sea exploration and amazing discoveries. It is an exciting read and includes so many beautiful photos. If you love the the ocean, watching nature documentaries, or want to emulate someone with dogged determination, then this is the book for you!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    A wonderful look into the life of a marine biologist. Dr. Widder writes about her inspirations, her work, her tribulations, and her successes in a way that is not only readable, but enjoyable. It is such a good read that my daughter, who has mentioned a desire to be a marine biologist, will be treated to reading it when she is ready. Thank you Dr. Widder for such a good book. Were I still teaching, it would certainly find its way into the curriculum. Also, thank you to the publisher and Netgalle A wonderful look into the life of a marine biologist. Dr. Widder writes about her inspirations, her work, her tribulations, and her successes in a way that is not only readable, but enjoyable. It is such a good read that my daughter, who has mentioned a desire to be a marine biologist, will be treated to reading it when she is ready. Thank you Dr. Widder for such a good book. Were I still teaching, it would certainly find its way into the curriculum. Also, thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    I used to dream about what it would be like to explore outer space. I should have been dreaming about the deep seas instead. They’re so much closer, and there are so many fascinating things down there. Edie Widder made a career out of it, and she makes it sound exciting and rewarding. Her primary focus was bioluminescence - things that glow, and according to her it’s like the fourth of July down there. She’d be a great guest at any dinner party - wry, witty, and full of interesting stories.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...