The Sea Around Us

by Rachel Carson

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 403

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson was published in 1951 and has since then remained as one of the most popular and interesting books on natural science.

The author's lucid prose is backed by thorough research and insights from government experts.

The book takes us through the "shadowy beginnings" of the sea and how Earth got its first oceans. The tides of molten material that swirled in response to the Sun's gravitational pull led to the formation of the moon. The Earth's satellite played an important role in the creation of the oceans.

In the centuries that followed the cooling of the earth, nonstop rains filled the oceans' basins and gave us the seas and oceans that we see today. No-one can state with certainty as to how protoplasm and the first single-celled organisms came to be in the salty oceans millions of years ago.

These were followed by plants, and then animals that devoured plants. Thus, the complex food chain of today was formed the sea.

The rise and fall of mountain chains, and the movement of glaciers contributed to the shaping of oceans as they encroached upon land and then receded.

Fossils from the sea go back only 500 million years, to the Cambrian Period. 350 million years ago, during the Silurian Age, lifeforms crawled out of the sea to establish a presence on land.

Swamps and low-lying lands provided fertile ground for sea-based plants and animals to adapt to the changing landscape.

In their skeletons and blood, humans too carry imprints of life as it was eons ago. This is indicated by the calcium in our bones and the proportion of chemicals in blood.

In the sea, the lives of sea creatures are influenced by the temperatures of the water in which they exist. Temperatures influence currents, the distribution of nutrients, and hence the abundance of ocean life in places where the Humboldt Current and the Benguela Current flow.

The book describes how advances in oceanography have enabled the discovery and study of lifeforms in the deep. We learn how tides influence lives in the sea and the lifestyles of humans. Readers discover how the ocean is a repository of untold mineral wealth, and they also learn about the ocean's crucial role in regulating the Earth's weather.

The final chapter of the book introduces the reader to the early navigators, the history of seafaring, and the advances in marine technology.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Critical Essays