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The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean
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The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,094 ratings  ·  293 reviews
In this intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and aneccentric band of renegade biologists, journalist Trevor Corson escorts the reader onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Petra X smokin' hot
Lobsters have the most amazing sex lives, very brutal, the biggest who can beat all the other males up gets sex - the females admire muscles. However, there's always the sly, sleek, attractive one, jack-the-lad who never fights and who gets it on with the ladies when the big one is recovering from his latest fight. Who knew?

The book is written from three perspectives: the fishing business, marine scientists and the lobsters' own extremely complicated and interesting lives. Its as entertaining a
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Caris
Four months ago, I was running downtown along First Ave when something caught my eye. I paused and snapped a photo of it.



I told people about later, because I wanted them to see it, too. I was amused. I posted it to Instagram, because that’s what you do. Shortly after, the guy who’d done the paste-up (I later learned that was the medium) commented on the photo. I clicked over to his profile and learned that he’d done tons of these things. I’d been running downtown for years and had never noticed
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Tony
I read this in my continuing attempt to find my inner lobster (my Umwelt), which is necessary for someone who "should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas." Plenty of warm, buttery tidbits here about lobster behavior, serving as a metaphor perhaps for the human drama of lobstermen versus the government. The term 'pissing contest' has taken on new meaning.

By coincidence, as I was reading this, I visited one of those new Uber-supermarkets; you know, a place
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Anna
Aug 31, 2007 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of nonfiction and/or crustaceans
i feel compelled to disclose that lobsters are, in fact, my favorite sea-dwelling creature and definitely in my top five creatures of all time (in no particular order, lobsters, otter, triceratops, my cat oscar, and unicorns). however, that does not mean that my review of this book should be disregarded.

the writing is engaging, and the subject matter contains many a good cocktail party tidbit (the bit about "superlobsters" being particularly interesting). and lobstermen are just pretty badass du
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William Blair
I love lobster. I thought they were getting rare (as in too many being caught). The government thought so too, so they limited the haul. Then the lobstermen (who had a darn good reason to know more about lobster behavior than any government policy wonk) figured out that was not so. In the end, this is mainly a story about how the industry effectively won the right to regulate its catch itself, with a side does of "it's not really necessary." Those lobsters are having a LOT of sex.

But how lobste
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Sasha
What I learned.... I learned that lobsters piss in each others faces to show dominance and share scents. I learned that Maine lobstermen take lobster conservation very seriously. I learned that the lobster view of the world is nothing like mine. I learned that scientists call post-larval lobsters superlobsters. And much else.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable book weaving together the scientific pursuit of the lobster worldview with the communities of Maine lobstermen and fight to keep lobsters from
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Karen
Jan 10, 2013 Karen marked it as to-read
Accidentally forgot to bring a book with me to read once I finished Bossypants. Believe it or not but I have actually been meaning to read this one and yes, it really is about lobsters.
It's pretty good so far!

Lordy. Am I ever going to finish this book?
Katey
Fun crustacean fact of the day: lobsters copulate in the missionary position.

Unfortunately, there's too little interesting science about lobsters in this book, and lots of Mengele-like scientists (who, after dedicating their lives to studying lobsters, feel perfectly at ease eating their subjects after the experiments) and lobstermen (who are not- contrary to the image you might conjure up- salty wildly bearded men with giant claw hands) and the exploitation of these animals.

I skimmed the final
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Katie
I picked up this book on a whim, as it was sitting on the shelf at the public library next to the one I had actually come for (The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating - must be the literary invertebrate section). I'm so glad I did. This book served to further prove my favorite genre these days is narrative science writing. Corson writes about the American Lobster from every possible angle: its biology, its evolution, its habitat, its mating habits, the lives of those who study it and who fish for it, l ...more
Bill
This book tells the story of individual lobstermen, their communities, marine scientists, US regulatory politics, as well as the biology of lobsters in an entertaining way. In addition to finally understanding how lobsters molt, I found some great insights about the interplay between science, evidence, and policy.

Example of one particular insight regarding how far wrong desk science can go in interpreting data. In a nutshell: marine scientists looked at the small size of lobsters being caught o
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Dan
If you've ever wondered where baby lobsters come from, this book explains it -- in great detail.

The overall theme of the book is understanding the ecology of lobsters, and the debate between lobster scientists and lobstermen about how many lobsters to catch. The book describes the extraordinarily successful steps lobstermen have been taking to preserve and expand the lobster population.

This book reminded me a lot of another great Maine biology text, The Mind of the Raven. They both take a look
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Catherine Martin27
Intriguing study of the lobster-fishing industry in Maine and of the lobster itself, including lurid details of the lobsters' sex life! Seriously, the male lobster is quite thoughtful and tender, gently stroking the female with his antennae as he goes about wooing. Lively, well written; follows the lives of several lobster fishermen and the efforts (sometimes misguided) of scientists to resolve the problems of the supposedly dwindling supply (of lobsters, and therefore sooner or later of fisherm ...more
Jennifer Boyce
This book got off to a slow start, but picked up speed throughout the book. I found myself somewhat bored and uninterested with the first couple of chapters in this book, but I stuck with it and by the middle of the book I was sucked into the lobster science.

Prior to reading this book I hadn't thought much about lobsters, other than I want to try eating one the next time I find myself in Maine. But this book changed that and really caused me to think a lot about the life of a lobster, beyond the
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Caroline
May 18, 2008 Caroline rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
It may seem strange to give a book on lobsters 5 stars, but I loved this! I purchased it on a whim for a plane trip, and spent every available moment with my nose in it until I was done. So very well done! From lobster catching, to lobster science, to lobster politics, it has it all. I look forward to Mr. Corson's next effort - the bar is quite high.
Joanne  Clarke Gunter
I overestimated my ability to sustain interest in an entire book about lobsters and lobster fishermen, but I did learn quite a lot and lobsters are quite fascinating creatures. The book drags a bit but is interesting, just a tad too long for the subject and the average non-lobster scientist reader.
Stephen Yoder
I intensely enjoyed this book. I mean, who doesn't like to read about the strange mating habits of invertebrates, especially those that involve passing chemicals back and forth, the shedding of skin, and double penises!?
The author plays all coy about the island that is central to this non-fictional story, but in the end of the book he lets out that:
1. He's been traveling to this island for all of his life
2. The unnamed sternman on this one central character's lobster boat is. . .the author himse
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Veronica Cackler
Now I know more about lobsters than I ever thought possible!
This book humanized them. I wonder what I will do the next time I have a lobster on my dinner plate! It won't be as easy to eat as before, possibly.
Fascinating book with lots of interesting facts.
Alison O'Leary
I'm fascinated by all things related to the ocean. Learning in-depth about lobsters never really crossed my mind until this book, and it more than quenched my thirst for such info. The author weaves a number of narratives together, from laws regulating lobster catch to wars among Maine lobstermen to what goes on in marine science labs. Most of the information was great, but at a certain point I reached saturation. There's more here than you can digest, whether you love lobster or are just intell ...more
Madeline Benoit
I was inspired to read this book because the lobster is basically the spirit animal of my family haha. Overall, I have to say the book was a little difficult to get into at parts, and I didn't rip through the book as quickly as I usually do - there were a lot of peaks and troughs in terms of keeping my interest throughout the approximately 300 pages.

However, I chose to read the book to expand my mind and learn something new, which I did. The meticulous research is obvious to the reader - it was
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Bill
Trevor Corson writes a good story. Throughout this book, he weaves a tale of commercial lobster fishermen, biologists, government regulation, with a little geology thrown in. He shifts scenes between these groups seamlessly, and the reader is exclusively engaged with the group he is reading without mentally wandering to another aspect of the story. There are no sections that you find yourself drifting away from or wishing you could skip.

I found the research and biology sections the most interest
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Jessica Franco
A journalistic narrative about the intimate details of lobsters, The Secret Life of Lobsters tells of how fishermen, scientists, and teams of both have worked to better understand one of our most delectable crustaceans. Told from the point of view of individual fisherman and various scientists, this novel is the most fluid and engaging nonfiction work I have ever read. The narrative provides a flow of information without bogging down or confusing the reader. As you learn about the life cycle and ...more
Tippy Jackson
The life of lobsters. Was there any chance this wouldn't be a good book? Well, yes I suppose there was, but fortunately it was. There were lots of little interesting tidbits about lobsters, but the book was mostly about a small lobstering community and scientists working together to learn about these awesome animals and to maintain their sustainability. Their new found knowledge can even be used to guesstimate how favorable a lobster season may or may not be.

I was a little concerned with the po
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Mike Wolstat
This story elevates the profile of your average lobsterperson to a noble steward of the sea. It goes to great lengths to show how much resource management is built in to the process of lobstering.

It relates the story of the US and Canadian laws that were passed in the 70s and 80s and the subsequent backlash from the lobstering community. Together with the work of some of the local marine scientists everybody was able to work together to better figure out what lobsters do all day and how to safel
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Melissa Conner
I can confidently say that, before reading Trevor Corson’s The Secret Life of Lobsters, the only thing I knew about this deep dweller was that it was delicious with butter. Like most ignorant seafood lovers, I had no idea what “lobster life” was all about, nor what has been done—and what continues to be done—by both lobstermen and scientists alike to ensure “our favorite crustacean” continues to satisfy our palates for eons to come.

Just south of Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park sits Li
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Nancy
The lobsters are really interesting. The people are too - marine scientists and lobster fishermen and their families - just not as much. I read this for the natural history aspect, and the lobster ecology, biology, behavior, and population dynamics do not disappoint. Pretty fascinating stuff, especially the courting and mating rituals of the spiny crustaceans, which weren't what the scientists were expecting when they finally got around to testing out their ideas with live lobsters in seawater t ...more
Kurt
This is one of the best books I've read in a while and I'd recommend it to just about anyone. I'm not just saying this because of a potential bias with my home-state because I don't even like eating lobsters. The author truly experiences his subject by living and working on a lobster boat for two years while gathering information for this book and it showed. It comes to no surprise that the author is capable of writing on a diverse list of topics that include Buddhism in Japan, the Tiananmen Squ ...more
Brent
Jan 24, 2008 Brent rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brent by: NPR
Shelves: science
TSLOL does cover in detail the science of lobsters, but it is much more than just the typical popular science book. I found it to be an engaging read because of Trevor Corson's easy style and the thematic way he presents the material. Most importantly, the book has a very personal focus - it covers the lives of a few lobstermen from a small Maine community and how these lobster fishermen interact and intersect with a group of scientists trying to figure out the mysterious lobster. You really get ...more
Nick Piacentini
In the book, "The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of our Favorite Crustacean", the author, Trevor Corson does a great job connecting science and lobstering to lobster's habits and way of life. He does so in a way that the book is informational but interesting and intriguing as well.

The book starts off by entering into the lives of lobstermen who live and fish off the Cranberry Islands in Downeast Maine, and tells of the hard and isolated lives
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Becky
This was a perfect book to read while studying for the bar. Not at all difficult, very quick, and super entertaining, it's a journalistic mix following lobster scientists, Maine lobstermen, and the lobsters themselves as the author describes how various mysteries about the crustaceans have (or haven't) been solved. The best part of the book for me was definitely the bits about lobster behavior. I had no idea lobsters were so hilarious (especially their mating and fighting habits). I also loved t ...more
Chrisiant
I never knew there was so much to know about lobsters! This book is fascinating - lots of marine biology stuff, detailed deconstructions of lobster sex, lobster smell, the structure of lobster eyes and antennules and swimmerettes, and how lobster in larval stages become tiny wee lobsters and then molt and molt and molt and travel all sorts of distances depending on wind and water currents and oh my goodness so fascinating!

It's a pleasant balance of really accessible explanations of the science,
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