For hundreds of years, both scientists and novices alike underestimated the enormous diversity and richness of life in the deep sea. Ancient philosopher Pliny, for instance, believed everything of significance was already known about the deep sea; eminent nineteenth-century naturalist Edward Forbes, meanwhile, predicted the deep sea would prove lifeless. And until very recently, they were right-or at least they were not yet proved wrong. Only in the last fifty years or so did the deep sea-with its Lilliputian fauna on the seafloor; its seemingly bizarre life forms at mid-ocean depths; its profusion of life at hot vents, cold seeps, and whale falls; and its coldwater corals and fisheries on seamounts and deepwater reefs-reveal itself to be a source of scientific wonderment and, indeed, the last unexplored frontier on the planet.
But just as research and exploration are rendering the dark brine accessible, a host of new threats is endangering life in the waters. The Silent Deep tells the stories of discovery of the deep sea and of the impact of humans have had upon it, highlighting the importance of global stewardship in keeping this delicate ecosystem alive and well. Parceled into three sections, The Silent Deep considers the early history of deepwater exploration-from antiquity to the present-the ecology of the deep sea, and the human imprint on this fantastical and fragile realm. Written by world renowned deep-sea ecologist Tony Koslow, The Silent Deep is a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the state of the deep sea today, accessible to anyone interested in ocean science, the story of scientific discovery, and conservation of the Earth's most threatened ecosystems.