Fellows in the News

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change biologist and Switzer Fellow Thor Hanson tells the remarkable story of how plants and animals are responding to climate change: adjusting, evolving, and sometimes dying out.

Anole lizards have grown larger toe pads, to grip more tightly in frequent hurricanes. Warm waters cause the development of Humboldt squid to alter so dramatically that fishermen mistake them for different species. Brown pelicans move north, and long-spined sea urchins south, to find cooler homes. And when coral reefs sicken, they leave no territory worth fighting for, so aggressive butterfly fish transform instantly into pacifists. 

A story of hope, resilience, and risk, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is natural history for readers of Bernd Heinrich, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and David Haskell. It is also a reminder of how unpredictable climate change is as it interacts with the messy lattice of life.
Publishers Weekly's review says, "with contagious curiosity, Hanson nimbly avoids pedantic, moralistic admonishments. Nature-lovers will be thrilled to see science so vividly described, and will marvel at the incredible ingenuity of creatures across the globe."
“Understanding biological responses to climate change can help us find our place within it,” Hanson writes. “Simply put, if bush crickets, bumblebees, and butterflies can learn to modify their behaviors, then it stands to reason that we can too."

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