Compared to the charismatic megafauna of the oceans, jellyfish have never received the attention they deserve.
Lisa-ann Gershwin, the director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, wrote Stung! to help correct this, arguing that jellyfish are to the oceans what canaries are in a coal mine, except their indicator behaviour is to thrive when conditions are most dire. Accounts of the various jellyfish blooms across the globe, from polar waters to tropical seas, are used to illustrate just how much the ocean environments have changed, mostly to the detriment of marine biodiversity.
This genre of nature writing is highly frequented territory. But what makes Stung! stand out is that Gershwin achieves the rare combination of being not just a talented researcher who has discovered more than 160 new jellyfish species but also a very entertaining writer, turning what could have been a worthy but prosaic book into a page turner.