Lecture References

Welcome!!  You've likely attended some of my lectures on board a cruise ship somewhere in the world.  I really appreciate your interest and continued support.  It is because of interested and informed travelers like you that the cruise lines continue to invite lecturers like me aboard.  I truly enjoy the research involved in developing my presentations and enjoy giving the lectures just as much.  The most enjoyable part, of course, is getting to meet folks like you and having a chance to chat.

This page list some of the websites and books mentioned in my various lectures.

(Please note -  I'm continually updating this list - lots more to come!!  PS: Try to borrow books from your library, if you can... libraries will go the way of the dodo if we don't make a point of supporting them) 

Ecology & Biology:

Encyclopedia of the Earth - www.eoearth.org/

"The Once and Future World" by J.B. MacKinnon (see a good review here...)

A powerful idea from E.O. Wilson
who wrote a provocative article in Smithsonian magazine in 2014: "Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the Planet for Wildlife?"

E. O. Wilson's book "A Window on Eternity

A Window on Eternity is a stunning book of splendid prose and gorgeous photography about one of the biologically richest places in Africa and perhaps in the world. Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique was nearly destroyed in a brutal civil war, then was reborn and is now evolving back to its original state.

Edward Wilson makes the argument that our species cannot understand the ramifications of loss of biodiversity.  The best way to continue natural evolutionary processes on earth is to protect a parallel system of natural wild areas.
Wildlife journalist William Stolzenburg follows in the wake of nature's topmost carnivores and finds chaos in their absence. His startling tour through the bizarre, impoverished landscapes of pest and plague provides a world of reason to think again about meat-eating beasts so recently missing from the web of life.
These big animals—mammoths and mastodons, for example—exercised a disproportionate influence on the environment, argued the ecologists, and their disappearance sparked a chain reaction that led to ecosystem collapse and a massive loss of biodiversity.  

(Personal note by George:  I'm not entirely in favor of reintroducing all the top predators throughout the land... but I do advocate the idea of setting aside huge areas so that natural evolutionary processes can continue - ensuring our survival as a species -- as well as the survival of thousands of other species and the continued life-sustaining ecosystem services of our planet.)

This is an important book -- it provides a good explanation of the science behind some difficult notions... including the idea that ocean ecosystems are likely shifting from the high energy "muscles & jaws" food chains to "weedy" food chains with jellyfish as the top predators.

Should be required reading for biology students worldwide (and every cruise ship passenger!  OK, maybe not... but if you've attended any of my lectures this book will help you to amaze and inform your fellow travelers) 

Marine Sciences:
NOAA www.noaa.gov
NOAA marine creatures www.nmfs.noaa.gov
Woods Hole Research Center www.whrc.org 
Marine Biology www.marinebio.org

Also see the excellent paper by economists Crow White and Christopher Costello, who examined the provocative idea of completely closing international waters to fishing. The authors found that a ban would be a triple win: it would increase fishery profits, fishery yields, and improve fish stock conservation dramatically.

Big Fish Stories 
Whale Sharks, Basking Sharks, Leatherback Sea Turtles, Mola Mola
Leatherback Sea turtle 
Good intro:


Excellent reference book & website by Carl Safina
Voyage of the Turtle

Whale Shark -- largest fish in the sea; 18 to 32.8 ft (5.5 to 10 m) and average weight 20.6 tons (18.7 tonnes) see www.whaleshark.org

Giant Sunfish (Mola mola)  - world's largest bony fish; up to 5,000 lbs - view this excellent talk by Dr. Tierney Thys.  Also see her website - full of fascinating photos & info www.oceansunfish.org

Coral Reefs

ReefBase - one of the best resource sites for Coral Reefs

Excellent intro to coral reefs, threats, etc

Ocean Acidification 
Ocean Acidification - excellent overview with graphs, images, etc.
Carbon’s Burden on the World’s Oceans

Ocean Currents and Climate Change

NASA Climate Change Website
Excellent resource for up-to-date scientific information, complete with photos, graphics, etc.

NOAA Climate Website

NOAA Weather School
Fantastic resource for learning about weather systems, climate, global energy, etc.

Spineless Creatures - 

 Squid & Octopus (Cephelapods)
The Cephelapod Page - excellent resource by Dr. James Wood, a leading cephelapod scientist.

Additional information on cephalopods can be found on TONMO.com, marine biology at MarineBio.org,

Excellent introduction to the science of Jellyfish and the current state of our oceans:
"Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean" by Lisa-ann Gershwin

Good general introduction 

New York Times -- Jellyfish articles - fascinating and educational


See the excellent overview by Dr. Richard Kirby: www.planktonpundit.org
Features a short video "Ocean Drifters" that reveals how the plankton have shaped life on Earth and continue to influence our lives in ways that most of us never imagine.

The oxygen in every second breath you take comes from the ocean!  And phytoplankton populations have dropped by 40 percent since 1950! 
Researchers find trouble among phytoplankton, the base of the food chain, which has implications for the marine food web and the world's carbon cycle.
I highly recommend this very informative Scientific American article to put the decline in phytoplankton into perspective.

    Drifting Continents & Plate Tectonics

    Volcano Live, John Seach 
    Excellent website providing up-to-date information on the world's volcanoes, eruptions, volcano treks, and links to other volcano educational sites.