Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

Spineless The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone Part travelogue part memoir part deep dive literally into the world of jellyfish Spineless can serve as inspiration for any of us to reclaim a creative space in the midst of family life NPR A former

  • Title: Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone
  • Author: Juli Berwald
  • ISBN: 9780735211261
  • Page: 202
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Part travelogue, part memoir, part deep dive literally into the world of jellyfish Spineless can serve as inspiration for any of us to reclaim a creative space in the midst of family life NPR A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea s imperiled ecosystems.Jellyfish have b Part travelogue, part memoir, part deep dive literally into the world of jellyfish Spineless can serve as inspiration for any of us to reclaim a creative space in the midst of family life NPR A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea s imperiled ecosystems.Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes Their sting microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers.More than a decade ago, Juli Berwald left a career in ocean science to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas, but jellyfish drew her back to the sea Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants, decimated fisheries, and caused millions of dollars of damage Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Juli embarked on a scientific odyssey She traveled the globe to meet the biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raised jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marveled at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders.Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal clear distillations of science, Spineless is the story of how Juli learned to navigate and ultimately embrace her ambition, her curiosity, and her passion for the natural world She discovers that jellyfish science is than just a quest for answers It s a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.

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      Published :2019-04-02T08:10:28+00:00

    About "Juli Berwald"

    1. Juli Berwald

      Juli Berwald received her PhD in ocean science from the University of Southern California A science textbook writer and editor, she has contributed to many science textbooks and written for The New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and Slate, among other publications She lives in Austin with her husband and their son and daughter.

    976 thoughts on “Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone”

    1. The taste of the jellyfish was so subtle as to be almost nothing at all. I ate some more. It was a tasty, light, savory salad. In spite of all my anxiety about buying, soaking, preparing, and then eating it, jellyfish was completely unremarkable.I had a review typed up and the wi-fi crash at the library ate it, and I don't really feel like messing with this much more, so I'm going to go with pros and cons and be done with it.Pros:★ There is some nice jellyfish science in here.★ Dr. Berwald d [...]

    2. I was completely charmed by this science memoir about jellyfish and chasing your dreams. Juli Berwald’s love of marine biology was reawakened when she started contributing to National Geographic to help support her family. Quickly becoming obsessed with jellyfish, she set out on an unexpected journey to find out if jellies thrive in climate change — and whether or not that’s disastrous for humans. The result is this audiobook, full of charming anecdotes about what happens to baby jellies h [...]

    3. Good introduction to the biology of jellyfish. Definitely aimed at the general public, and usually pretty clear, though the book could have used more illustrations. Her interviews and interactions with jellyfish biologists are the highlight of the book. The memoir and travelogue (which are intertwined with the science) were pretty good, although I was getting a little tired of the details of daily life with young children by the end. So, 3.8 stars for the science, 3 stars for the personal stuff. [...]

    4. A fantastic book to understand a species not discussed that often unless you're a marine biologist or a scientist in a connected field. This book is definitely a passion project for the author with cultural history, scientific history, scientific discoveries and so much more. With a genuine grasp and love for her subject, the journey she takes the reader on is a fascinating one.

    5. An interesting subject, a lot of marine biology information in detail, a whole lot of detail. I skimmed past a lot of the jellyfish detail with just enough to know they are scary and amazing, and pose potential for overpopulation dangers, and to enjoy the anecdotes about flying, diving and snorkeling. I still find them fascinating and did enjoy the memoir and travelogue parts.

    6. This is amazing! Now I kind of want to be a marine biologist when I grow upAre you worried about a world jellyfish takeover? I went into this thinking I'd learn some cool jellyfish facts and came out of it confident these amazing ocean dwellers will soon be ruling the planet. This story follows the author's journey to study jellyfish; she consults jellyfish scientists on evolutionary history, learns how to properly eat jellyfish (ew), and explores the endless possibilities these creatures bring [...]

    7. Positives: Spineless is written in a very approachable manner and is easy to understand. Part science/part memoir, a person who does not normally read science topics or who knows nothing about jellyfish will find the writing easy to understand and quite fascinating at times. Negatives:1. This book needed to go through another round of editing as there were several easily identifiable grammatical errors that really should have been fixed before publication. It actually made me wonder if this was [...]

    8. I am not a marine biologist.just a retired RN. This titles just grabbed me "Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone. I learned more about jellyfish than I ever wanted to know. This is a slow-read, but a fascinating one. A look into a jellyfish's world turns out to be fascinating and apparently important to global ocean ecology.

    9. Reading a book about jellyfish seemed like the perfect way to start a new year. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be quite the book about jellyfish I was looking for.Spineless is good, but like most creative non-fiction, or the New New Journalism, or whatever we call it today, it followed the mandate that the info on jellies must be interwoven with the story of the author’s own journey into this gorgeous and very strange gelatinous world. I wanted more jelly fish and less personal journe [...]

    10. I have never gave jellyfish much thought, but this ended up being an entertaining and educational read, despite a few dry spots.

    11. I enjoy science memoirs. They’re great because it’s like you’re riding along on someone’s learning journey! And now I know a lot about jellyfish.

    12. Interesting stories about Jellyfish in regards to their biology, the fishing industry and chasing them across the oceans, but about half of it was personal and uninteresting details of the author's personal life.

    13. This book is more of the author's personal memoir than any type of science book about jellyfish. Berwald's enthusiasm for jellyfish is obvious and the writing style flows nicely. She includes some incredibly interesting information about the creatures, but there is simply too much personal "stuff" about her, her kids, her husband, her travel trips adn the people she meets to wade through. After a while the biographical pages became boring and wading through all the irrelevant "stuff" to get to t [...]

    14. I would have never thought that jellyfishes could be so interesting. A dive into this special world that I enjoyed a lot, even if I had no background information on this topic.Non avrei mai pensato che il mondo delle meduse potesse essere cosí interessante. Un tuffo in un argomento che non conoscevo per niente e che mi é piaciuto parecchio!THANKS TO EDELWEISS FOR THE PREVIEW!

    15. 3 stars. While I was very excited about this book, I got off to a rough start with it. I found a typo on the second page (and several more throughout the book) and the author used the word "landlocked" 3 times in as many pages. I knew then that this book, as several others have noted, could have used some more careful editing (personally, I think it could have easily been trimmed by 50 pages or more). Also, as a few other reviewers have noted, the memoir parts of this book weren't very engaging. [...]

    16. The only caveat I have for this book is that it has no illustrations or photos of any of the jellyfish she describes. That would have been nice, but of course one can google them on the internet and even that way find some videos. Actually I would rate this a 4.5 book.What I liked about it was her intertwining her growing interest in jellyfish with the narrative. Though she is not an academic, she has done extensive research on these animals and is known to academic scientists and respected for [...]

    17. I got this book for a book nerd challenge. I never would have read a whole book about jellyfish otherwise. I'm glad I did, though! The author writes many, many interesting facts about jellyfish, but you don't feel like you're reading a textbook. She also tells us about her life as a married woman with two kids, about the love of her life before she'd met her husband, and some of her social life with other jellyfish scientists around the world. She also doesn't merely state facts, but tells how t [...]

    18. FABULOUS! On par with Moneyball and Born to Run, maybe better. This has been sitting around for a while, because, well, jellyfish? Turns out Berwald is a top-shelf raconteur with an eagle eye for editing. She's an objective scientist with the rare skill of also being a gifted science teacher- the kind who's class goes by in the blink of an eye and you realize you've been on the edge of your seat at the same time you're sorry its over. She dumbs-down the language without skipping the science, doe [...]

    19. However, the issue of climate change and its relationship to jellyfish is not portrayed firmly in the book’s narrative. The author does seem to aim for it throughout the course of the book, and does seem to reach the conclusion that jellyfish are vital to our understanding of the changing oceans as a result of climate change, but the journey to that conclusion is tenuous. The scientists themselves are still not in agreement as to whether or not exploding jellyfish numbers are indeed a sign of [...]

    20. I received a copy of this book for free through the Giveaways program. Juli Bernard is an incredible writer with a gift for turning seemingly insignificant moments into wonderful stories. This was a fascinating look at a narrow topic that I have not previously given much thought to. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in nature, evolution, climate change, the oceans, medicine and the field of science generally, and those looking to learn a bit more about our place in this world. "I [...]

    21. You go, Juli Berwald! She stumbled upon jellyfish in Israel, which inspired her study of ocean science (up to and including a Phd from USC), which inspired her science writing, which inspired her further travel and exploration, which inspired her thoughts about the future, which inspired her to write Spineless.To those who complain that she is not pure scientist/academic, or pure journalist, and who suggest that the inclusion of anecdotes about her husband and kids makes this more of a memoir, I [...]

    22. I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable. I have only seen jellyfish one time--in Alaska, but now I know that they are fascinating creatures. The author is captivated by jellyfish and she observes them in different places, and also talks with people who also are captivated by jellyfish. There are many different kinds of jellyfish with different characteristics. There are people studying their bioluminescence and their neurotoxins in labs. What they find is amazing and shows that we need to l [...]

    23. I really didn't know much of anything about jellyfish, just bits and bobs. This book definitely gave me an education on this amazing animal. The only part about the book I have a complaint about is how the author kept throwing in personal details of her life, which is fine in small doses, like how the person became interested in the subject they're writing about, etc but she writes about her relationship troubles and other irrelevant personal stories that, I think, did not add anything to the su [...]

    24. Honestly I was really disappointed in this book. Juli Berwald comes across as a suburban stay-at-home mom who is playing scientist. She has a background in science but I wouldn’t have guessed that if she hadn’t mentioned it in the book. Some of the research in the book was interesting, but she failed to answer her research question (How will climate change impact jellyfish?). The portions where she discusses her life and what she has learned were very dull. They didn’t really seem to go wi [...]

    25. I fell deeply in love with these incredible creatures after reading "The thing about jellyfish" by Ali Benjamin (a beautiful novel based on scientific research about jellyfish). When I saw this book at Barnes & Noble I knew I HAVE to read it. I was so excited to expand my poor and almost forgotten "knowledge" about jellyfish from Benjamin's book. I give Spineless 4 starts because as I was reading, I found too many personal anecdotes through the book and I was not expecting that many. However [...]

    26. This was an enjoyable book about jellyfish. It covers topics such as the biology and chemistry of jellyfish and our interactions with them. This includes things such as using jellyfish as a food source or dealing with them clogging power sources by the water. The book covers conversations and interactions with many jellyfish researchers, fishermen, and enthusiasts. It also presents a lot of information without being too overwhelming. However, the author spends a lot of time writing about her fam [...]

    27. I never got hooked on this one, but I enjoyed the mix of science and memoir, and definitely learned a lot about jellies! I'll admit that I started skimming towards the end thoughr whatever reason it just didn't completely keep my interest. In any case, I thought jellyfish were pretty awesome before I read this (which is mostly why I read this), and I think they're even more awesome and interesting now. I think I just would have liked more of Berwald's obvious enthusiasm for them to come through. [...]

    28. I usually love books like this: part science or history, part travelogue. This one is fine, but not remarkable.It is absolutely what the title says: a mixture of a story of a woman finding her way in life (growing a backbone) and the story of jellyfish. Science interspersed with travel and reminiscing. I listened to the audiobook. The author narrates, which I love in theory, but in practice she wasn't good enough. I got through it by listening at 1.15 speed, which hid most of the awkward pauses [...]

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