New Popular Book on Marine Mammal Research

From the MarMam email list:

The following is posted as a courtesy to Dr. William E. Evans (; email:, who is pleased to announce the recent release of his new book published by Pensoft Publishers

— Fifty Years of Flukes and Flippers: A Little History and Personal Adventures With Dolphins, Whales and Sea Lions- 1958-2007.

Dr. Evans, is a Professor Emeritus of the Marine Biology Department, Texas A&M University at Galveston. He is one of the first group of scientists that made up the cadre of the Navy”s Marine Mammal Program which started in the 1960s at a Naval Base in Southern California. His primary area of research during his 10 years with the US Navy program was marine mammal communication and echolocation. It resulted in the design of a special research platform for observing and recording dolphins underwater called Sea See, and the radio-telemetric study of several species. In 1976, he took on administrative duties as the Director of the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute (HSWRI), expanded his interests in management of marine mammals. In 1984, he was Presidentially Appointed and Senate-Confirmed as Chairman of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, with oversight responsibilities for the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In 1988, he was Presidentially Appointed and Senate-Confirmed as the Under Secretary of Commerce for NOAA. He retired from Federal Service in 1989, and went to Texas to become the Dean of the then Texas Maritime College at Texas A&M University at Galveston and then Director of the Texas Institute of Oceanography. He retired from Texas A&M University in 1999. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame and Managing Editor of the American Midland Naturalist. Below is the summary provided by the publisher, as well as information on how to purchase the book.

This book is a combination history of some aspects of Marine Mammal Science and a narrative of a special voyage by the author into the world of marine mammals. Although the study of marine mammals has a very long history, the modern era of research did not start in any serious way until the 1950″s. That is where this story starts. There were very few marine mammals other than pinnipeds that were being maintained in a controlled captive environment. There was an attempt in the late 1930″ into the 1940 to start what later would become the start of the modern era of oceanariums. Marine Studio started in Saint Augustine Florida but had to close with the advent of World War II. At the end of the War, Marineland of Florida came to life and provided a whole new experience for the general public to view and study dolphins (primarily the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin), up close and personal. It was also the start of a new approach and interest in research to understand how these amazing mammals have adapted to the marine environment. This was the start of many opportunities to try and answer some of the questions that have intrigued scientist for centuries. Since the author”s introduction to this new endeavor started in 1956 the book focuses on the development of this fascinating field of science from that period up to the present. The story is told from his perspective as an active participant. In the 1950s, the number of full time scientists involved with study of marine mammals was in the hundreds and most them were focusing on whaling and sealing. Today there are thousands of dedicated young and older scientists working with marine mammals both in zoos and aquaria. Unfortunately few of them know much of the fascinating history of their science. It is our hope that this book will address that issue. The book can be purchased directly from the Pensoft Publisher website: for 20 Euros or your usual bookseller (book retails at about 45 US $$).

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

One thought on “New Popular Book on Marine Mammal Research

  • 2008/10/02 at 10:31 pm

    I picked it up for 44.50 at amazon – It is in fact a personal story, marine mammal science and a history lesson all in one. Great read.

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