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The Sea is not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides

The Sea is not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides

Adam Nicolson

Available from 24 June 2021. We will have a limited number of signed bookplate copies while stocks last.

The sea is not made of water. Creatures are its genes. Look down as you crouch over the shallows of a rockpool and you will find a periwinkle or a prawn, a claw-displaying crab or a cluster of anemones ready to meet you. Go to the rocks and the living will say hello.

We go to the seaside for consolation and simplicity. Demands and anxieties drop away there. But there are ironies in choosing the shore as a place of reassurance. Nothing about the intertidal can be relied on. Twice a day, every day, change dominates its existence: wetness, dryness, freshness, saltiness, warmth, cool, storm, calm, light, dark. Every part of life here is dedicated to surviving and thriving in a world of alteration.

In this book, prize-winning and bestselling author Adam Nicolson explores one of the most revelatory habitats on earth. He looks at the extraordinary mirroring of human and animal life on its shores, in pools that are silent and beautiful yet as full of threat as any rats' alley or Roman circus. And at the remarkable, dedicated naturalists who made study of life in the intertidal their life's work.

Of all the great discoveries made in the science of nature, from a grasp of taxonomy, to the sequence of creatures through time revealed in the rocks, the adaptations of organisms to circumstance, the idea of natural selection ? finally crystallising in Darwin's mind as he spent 8 long years examining the inner workings of the barnacle? all these ways of understanding the pattern of life first emerged from studying what was happening to animals and plants between the tides.

It is where you can look beyond your own reflection and find the marvellous an inch beneath your nose. 'The soul wants to be wet,' Heraclitus said in Ephesus 2,500 years ago. This wonderful book demonstrates why this is so. 336 pages.

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