Blaschka images

Kudos to ecologists Drew Harvell and Anurag Agrawal, whose popular science books about iconic species—marine invertebrates and monarch butterflies, respectively—are bringing science to the masses with artful, image-rich stories 

Cornell Researchers Educate through Books

June 14, 2016

Blaschka images

Kudos to ecologists Drew Harvell and Anurag Agrawal, whose popular science books about iconic species—marine invertebrates and monarch butterflies, respectively—are bringing science to the masses with artful, image-rich stories.

Harvell and Agrawal are professors in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, and both were previously ACSF faculty directors of the environment. Their books are based on research projects that were supported by Atkinson Center funding.

Harvell’s A Sea of Glass: Searching for the Blaschkas' Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk, makes marine biodiversity conservation interesting and accessible, while vividly illustrating Cornell’s Blaschka collection of blown glass marine life. Harvell uses the 150-year-old Blaschka glass art as a baseline for ocean species, comparing the glass figures to what’s swimming in today’s oceans. The Guardian raves, "A Sea of Glass is an artistic monograph." Harvell also made an award-winning film based on the Blaschka art, titled Fragile Legacy. Through visual images Harvell educates us on the beauty of the oceans and the paramount need for conservation.

Anurag Agrawal’s Monarchs and Milkweeds will be published next year by Princeton University Press. Agrawal’s book cites major discoveries made over the past century in botany, entomology, chemistry, ecology, and evolutionary biology, as well as his own pioneering research into the iconic monarch. With eye-catching photographs, he explains the complicated relationship between monarchs and milkweed. He also evaluates the current sustainability of monarchs and reveals a novel explanation for their declining numbers.