Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes

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9781590785881: Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes
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Stunning photos and expert text reveal the secret lives of salt marshes. Along the coasts, where ocean tides mix salt water with fresh water, nature has created salt marshes—soggy places full of natural wonders. For years, salt marshes were maligned, drained, or filled in. Now salt marshes are valued as the home of fascinating wildlife, including more than twenty different species of birds. Ornithologist and photographer Doug Wechsler takes the reader on a down-and-muddy tour of the year-round activity in these wonderlands. Young readers will marvel at the strange and skillful birds and unusual vegetation, beautifully adapted to live and thrive in salt marshes. Kids will appreciate what has taken so long for us to learn: salt marshes are delicate wetlands, well worth defending.

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About the Author:

Doug Wechsler is a wildlife photographer, an ornithologist, and director of Visual Resources for Ornithology (VIREO) at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He lives in Philadelphia.

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Grade 5–7—A season-by-season look at the ecology of an oft-overlooked habitat. Wechsler's lucid text introduces the insects, birds, reptiles, crustaceans, and other critters that claim this salty expanse as home. He explains the benefits of that smelly mud, and of the plants that take root in it and the life-forms that depend on it. He discusses the value of this seemingly inhospitable landscape as a "nursery" to a host of species, and its overall place in the natural scheme of things. Clear color photos present species mentioned in the text. Team this with Kevin Kurtz's A Day in the Salt Marsh (Sylvan Dell, 2007), which provides an hourly as opposed to a seasonal approach, or, for younger readers, Paul Fleisher's Salt Marsh (Benchmark, 1999). Salvatore Tocci's Marine Habitats (Watts, 2004) and/or Sally M. Walker's Life in an Estuary (Lerner, 2003) also contain supplemental data in specific chapters.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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