Marine Life Superlatives: The Most Extreme Creatures in the Sea

Written by on March 26, 2014 in Marine Life

In order for us to stay underwater for an extended period of time, we need some serious equipment, from scuba gear to submarines. But the oceans are teeming with life that thrives beneath the water. From the near-freezing poles to the sun-free hydrothermal vents, all the way to the warm tropics, marine creatures have adapted in amazing ways to live in some of Earth’s most extreme environments.

The Extreme Life of the Sea book cover.Marine biologist and Director of the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University Stephen Palumbi and his son and science writer Anthony Palumbi have teamed up to introduce us to some of those extreme habitats and the spectacular creatures that live there in their new book, The Extreme Life of the Sea.

The Palumbis organized their book into a collection of superlatives “in hopes of igniting a spark of curiosity and passion for what exists beneath the waves.”

Here are some of the extremes you’ll learn about:

  • The Earliest
  • The Most Archaic
  • The Smallest
  • The Deepest
  • The Shallowest
  • The Oldest
  • The Fastest Sprints and Longest Journeys
  • The Hottest
  • The Coldest
  • The Strangest Family Lives
Sailfish, the fastest animal in the ocean.

Sailfish, the fastest animal in the ocean. Photo credit: jidanchaomian, CC BY-SA.

After you’re thoroughly amazed at these marine creatures and the adaptations that allow them to survive in such extremes, the Palumbis explore the many ways human intervention has changed the ocean. The scary part is that the ocean is changing much faster than these creatures can adapt. What does that mean for our future? Well it’s not all doom and gloom.

“Nature is good at balancing itself out,” they write. So the important thing to focus on is changing the way we think about the ocean. We need it to survive, so hopefully learning a little more about the amazing life beneath the surface will inspire more people to care.

You can buy The Extreme Life of the Sea on Amazon.

To learn more, check out the tumblr page dedicated to The Extreme Life of the Sea.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Find MST on Instagram Connect with MST on Google Plus

2 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. Matt P says:

    I order this book the day that you posted the article. It arrived on Friday and I started reading it last night. It’s pretty good so far.
    The chapter on the Cambrian Explosion cleared up my understanding on what the “explosion” was. In past books that I’ve read, I thought that it was an actual event that killed the planet’s organisms. It turns out that it was the rapid evolution and proliferation of new life forms. I can’t wait to keep reading!

  2. Emily says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book! That’s great to hear — thanks for letting us know.