WORD LISTS

"World Without Fish" by Mark Kurlansky, Introduction and Chapter 1

November 15, 2017
In this book, Mark Kurlansky explores threats to the world's oceans and fish populations and describes ways that young people can support sustainable fishing.

Here are links to our lists for the book: Introduction and Chapter 1, Chapters 2-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-11
mammal
If this happens, many other fish that depend on these fish will also be in trouble....So will mammals that eat fish, such a whales, porpoises, and seals.
generation
And so you have more opportunities and more responsibilities than any other generation in history.
species
In his book, Darwin explained the order of nature as a system in which all the many various plant and animal species struggle for survival.
dominate
He did not see nature as particularly nice or kind, but as a cruel system in which species attempt to kill and dominate other species in order to secure the survival of their own kind.
vertebrate
They also belong to the same phylum, which is vertebrates (animals with spines).
voracious
They hunt voraciously the species living directly over and beneath them, and have white flesh greatly favored by Homo sapiens.
biodiversity
In science, it is known that life depends on a large variety. This is known as biodiversity.
organism
So it is not surprising that we humans have the greatest affection for organisms that are biologically close to us.
variation
Darwin's great contribution was to understand that in the struggle for survival, nature puts out variations: the species that successfully adapt through the use of variations survive, and the others become extinct.
extinct
Darwin's great contribution was to understand that in the struggle for survival, nature puts out variations: the species that successfully adapt through the use of variations survive, and the others become extinct.
abundant
Species moved into and out of areas, there were changes in weather, some species were eliminated and others became extremely abundant.
minuscule
Each shift, sometimes as minuscule as a shift in the wind, day by day—even hour by hour—changed the order of nature.
evolution
It is out of this process, known as evolution, that monkeys eventually developed into human beings.
marine
Though Darwin wrote only a little about the sea, marine life is linked in the same system as all life on Earth.
unforeseen
Even the smallest changes can have unforeseen results that are extremely difficult to change back.
commercial
But commercial extinction, which is when there are so few of a particular kind of fish that it is no longer profitable to fish for them is increasingly common.
translucent
Coral reefs are made up of coral polyps, tiny, soft-bodied translucent animals related to sea anemones and jellyfish.
colony
When the polyps attach themselves to rocks on the seafloor, they reproduce by dividing and growing, connecting to one another to create a colony that acts as a single organism.
exposition
Chapter One: Being a short exposition about what could happen and how it would happen
cataclysm
Nevertheless, considering overfishing, pollution, and global warming, the entire system of ocean life could completely unravel within a relatively short time—and then we would be helpless spectators to a cataclysm.
genetic
They are also the neediest species, more fragile than the less evolved species that have managed to survive for millions of years with few, if any, genetic changes.
predator
Schools of tuna are known to swim near or alongside dolphins for protection against predators, such as sharks.
primitive
(Elephants might last longer, however, because they feed on squid, a primitive invertebrate that would survive the rapid extinction of marine life.)
scarcity
Some of the most highly evolved tropical seabirds seem peculiarly build for a world with a scarcity of prey.
tropical
Tropical seabirds fly great distances in search of prey.
disgorge
They're graceful fliers—but very awkward on land—that would probably survive for a while because, though much of their food consists of fish (they harass gulls and other birds to disgorge their meals). they also eat jellyfish.
endemic
This species of petrel, endemic to Chile, is now on several endangered watch lists.
plankton
The total population of plankton and krill is already the largest mass of protein in the world today.
phylum
We don't think much of jellyfish because, like insects, they are not even in our phylum.
tentacle
A jellyfish eats by stinging its prey with tentacles and then feeding it into its floating belly, which acts as a kind of pump that gives it the ability to travel through water.
prehistoric
As evolution reversed itself, worse things than jellyfish would flourish, including prehistoric bacteria.
plague
Already, little-known prehistoric organisms have emerged in nearly a dozen places around the globe—bacteria that prospered 2.7 billion years ago have been plaguing fishermen in recent years in the form of hairy-looking growths that constrict the throat, making breathing difficult and causing severe welts on the skin.
welt
Already, little-known prehistoric organisms have emerged in nearly a dozen places around the globe—bacteria that prospered 2.7 billion years ago have been plaguing fishermen in recent years in the form of hairy-looking growths that constrict the throat, making breathing difficult and causing severe welts on the skin.
impact
And this would eventually impact land-based mammals, including us.
predicament
But before we know what to change and how to change it, we need to understand how we got into this predicament in the first place.

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