Wow, I was wondering what took so long! As a teacher of an introductory university course in marine pollution I have always relied on R.B. Clark's “Marine Pollution” and was a bit surprised that no new update came up after the 5th edition in 2001. The Preface sheds light on this situation, and this book might even be seen as standing in for that long‐awaited 6th edition – the authors’ close association with Clark, the dedication of the book to him, the same title, the same publisher, even the same size and thickness…That said, pollution “has come a long way, baby”, making the task ever more complex and daunting, and we can thank Frid and Caswell for taking the leap. To tackle this complexity the authors divide the book into eight major chapters: Introduction; Toxicology; Solved Problems?; Ongoing Issues; Emerging Problems; The State of the Seven Seas; Regulation, Monitoring and Management; and The Future Ocean. Each is necessary in its own right and represents a piece of the overall puzzle.The Introduction sets a nice framework with some necessary definitions, even if I personally wonder a bit about the GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) definition of pollution (entirely anthropocentric bias …) and have never been all too enthusiastic about the distinction between “pollution” and “contamination”. This chapter introduces “Boxes” addressing particular aspects, players and cases studies. These Boxes continue to be used in other chapters as well and are a useful and modern touch.No book on marine pollution can do without a chapter of toxicology. Speaking of boxes, perhaps the additive, antagonistic and synergistic possibilities of contaminant mixtures would have deserved one of their own, considering that most marine systems no doubt simultaneously face dozens if not hundreds of pollutants, making synergism perhaps the key issue in marine pollution as a whole. The mention of Paracelsus (p. 28) and the fact that the dose determines whether something is a poison or a remedy is praiseworthy, but could have been nicely highlighted in the present, marine context by noting just how little salt is lethal to humans (a few tablespoons!).If one were to take issue with the structuring of the book, then it might be the chapter “Solved problems?”. (Heavy) metals, for example, are treated here, and the implication seems to be that, as we know about the problem so well, it is somehow “solved”. Oxygen‐consuming wastes (p. 46) and sewage treatment are also introduced here, immediately conjuring up eutrophication, which, however, is (thankfully) treated more fully in the next chapter under “Ongoing issues”: after all, eutrophication and the associated mass mortalities are the only form of pollution that can actually utterly destroy marine ecosystems (dead zones, p. 112) on a large scale. Of course, the “?” in the chapter title does allude to some hesitation regarding the “solved” moniker.There is a lot to like about this book. This ranges from the insightful chapter on what can be done about marine pollution (“Regulation, monitoring and management”) to the inspiring (even if somewhat frightening) “Future oceans” chapter. The concise “Synthesis” at the end of every chapter and the seven‐page glossary are valuable, as are the “Resources” and “Bibliography” after each chapter. How the authors successfully pared down the tens of thousands of scientific papers on marine pollution is beyond me. The index is extensive, although I was a bit shocked not to find the term “marine debris” in it (this hot topic is, however, treated extensively under “Plastics and litter”). Finally, the color photos are a good touch; for example, you can really only fully appreciate the amount of plastic in marine organisms by seeing the bright plastic items spilling from the exposed gut of a bird carcass (Plate 16).Outing yourself as a marine biologist almost invariably elicits a lament about the state of the world's oceans from those around you. This book provides the foundation for any more insightful response. It will inject a fresh breeze into my course on marine pollution. You definitely need this book on your desk‐side bookshelf too.
Marine Ecology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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