I started this blog after being inspired by the book The Darwinian Tourist - viewing the world through evolutionary eyes by Christopher Wills, Oxford University Press 2010.
And of course I have looked up images of nudibranch, and other underwater creatures, on the interweb and am now feeling overwhelmed by all the outrageously exquisite creatures that inhabit our (inclusive of everything) planet. Now I want to see some for real.
Here's a quote from the book (p151), that will enthrall both the ecologist and art historian in us all:
'I realized, as I swam among the crowds of fiercely competing species on Myanmar's reefs, that I was looking at a kind of delicate evolutionary baroqueness. Perhpas, I thought, these swarms of species are akin to those decorative elaborations of funiture and decor that became more florid with each successive Capetian king during France's Ancien Regime.
Conditions changed in France with the fall of the Bastille and the rise of the grim and decidely undecorative Committee of Public Safety. Talleyrand, who survived the French Revolution and many subsequent upheavels, famously said: "Ceux qui n'ont pas connu l'Ancien Regime ne pourront jamais savoir ce qu'etait la douceur de vivre." Those who never knew the Ancien Regime will never know how sweet life can be.
And now conditions are changing on the whole planet, as we play the role of Robespierre and destroy entire ecosystmes. It is a truism that those who have never experienced the sheer exuberance of rich ecosystems will never realize the sweetness of life as it used to be. ...
The process of evolution has endowed the living world with both fragility and robustness. Life on Earth will survive no matter what we do. Our great challenge is to see whether we can preserve enough diversity on our planet to make the lives of our descendants worth living.'