The new, sixth edition of Marine Biology covers the basics of marine biology and takes a global, non-regional perspective, emphasizing that the world’s oceans and seas are an integrated system that cannot be understood by looking in any one person’s own backyard. For many students this is a new perspective. This introductory, one-semester text is designed for non-majors.
Effective introduction, October 29, 2003
I have begun to use the third edition of this book in my introductory marine science course. I have to say that the Castro and Huber have taken a professional, effective approach to covering a diverse subject. The book takes a typical approach. Part 1: The nature of science and the physical environment. Part 2: Life in the marine environment, starting with physiology and moving on to diversity. Part 3: Ecology, covering basic principles and exploring various arine habitats. Part 4: Man’s impact on the sea. Things that I like about this book include: the excellent illustrations, both photographs and diagrams; box readings on special topics; and the chapter self reviews. Things that I do not like include the failure to put the various groups of animals in evolutionary relationships. There are two chapters on marine organisms, vertebrates and invertebrate. This arrangement fails to recognize the over all diversity of these groups and frequently unrelated groups are piled together for no reason but convenience. I think perhaps a simple appendix of cladograms of the various groups would address this. There is also a companion web site that I have not had the time to explore.
In all, it is an effective introduction to marine biology. I am enjoying incorporating it in to my class. I also think that it would be a fine choice for persons who want to study marine biology on there own. It is written at such a level that a person with a high school education can understand it with only a few references to the glossary or other books.