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ODU's Butler Contributes to New Book Dedicated to Endangered Marine Species

Old Dominion University marine ecologist Mark Butler is a contributor to "Adrift: Tales of Ocean Fragility," a new book from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that uses compelling images and snappy prose to publicize the overexploitation of marine species.

Butler, who is a professor of biological sciences, is the book's lead contributor and spokesperson for a chapter, "More Than an Entrée: Lobsters." This portion of the book focuses on the endangered Caribbean spiny lobster. The ODU researcher has for most of the past decade studied the spiny lobster and its ecosystem with support from the National Science Foundation and World Bank Global Environment Fund.

In 2006, Butler received international attention when his research about the quarantine habits of the spiny lobster was reported in the journal Nature. He and colleagues showed that healthy lobsters can detect-even before symptoms are apparent-another lobster that has contracted an infectious disease and avoid the infected lobster.

Habitat degradation and overfishing are major threats to the spiny lobster, as well as to other species such as sea turtles, sharks, tuna, abalone and elephant seals whose plight is documented in "Adrift." The book is the work of the IUCN's Species Survival Commission, and specifically the commission's Marine Conservation Sub-Committee.

A promotional video about the book can be seen at http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/adrift-tales-of-ocean-fragility. For information about buying the book, visit http://cms.iucn.org/resources/publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=1648.

The IUCN is dedicated to helping the world find pragmatic solutions to pressing environmental challenges by supporting scientific research. It seeks to advance its work by fostering cooperation between governments, nongovernment organizations, the United Nations, international conventions and private industry. The IUCN headquarters are near Geneva, Switzerland.

This article was posted on: November 20, 2008

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