A Sea of Glass

It started with a glass octopus. Dusty, broken, and all but forgotten, it caught Drew Harvell’s eye. Fashioned in intricate detail by the father-son glassmaking team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the octopus belonged to a menagerie of unusual marine creatures that had been packed away for decades in a storage unit. More than 150 years earlier, the Blaschkas had been captivated by marine invertebrates and spun their likenesses into glass, documenting the life of oceans untouched by climate change and human impacts. Inspired by the Blaschkas’ uncanny replicas, Harvell set out in search of their living counterparts. In A Sea of Glass, she recounts this journey of a lifetime, taking readers along as she dives beneath the ocean’s surface to a rarely seen world, revealing the surprising and unusual biology of some of the most ancient animals on the tree of life. On the way, we glimpse a century of change in our ocean ecosystems and learn which of the living matches for the Blaschkas’ creations are, indeed, as fragile as glass.

A Sea of Glass Awards: National Outdoor Book Award, Smithsonian top Art-Science pick, and Rachel Carson Award (honorable mention)

Buy it here!

A Sea of Glass Press Coverage: Scientific AmericanNew York TimesDiscoverScience FridayThe Guardian

New York Times Blog — Scientist at Work

In Pursuit of an Underwater Menagerie

Diving into the Coral Triangle

Living Reefs Under Fire 

Taking Care of Eco-Business

Swift Diving in Bali

University of California Press Blog

Diving into Glass: Reflections on the Blaschka’s 150-year old Glass Menagerie

New Clues in the Search for the Blaschka Animals 

Coral Reefs in the Age of Climate Change: Fragile as Glass

Medium — Blog

Coral Biodiversity is as Fragile as Glass

The Hill — Blog

The Domino Effect of an Underwater Disease Outbreak

CNN — Political Op-Ed

 Coral Reefs Sending a Warning Signal