Book Review: Bioluminescence: Nature and Science at Work by Marc Zimmer

Bioluminescence: Nature and Science at Work by Marc Zimmer is a children's non fiction book for confident readers about the science of bioluminescence. What do giant squids, mantis shrimp, and fireflies have in common? These animals, along with a wide range of creatures, are able to give off light; this is called bioluminescence. Different species use different chemistries to bioluminescence, and they produce their light for a variety of reasons, including communication, hunting, and self-defense. Bioluminescence is a unique and fascinating adaptation found in the animal kingdom. Surprisingly, about half of all known phyla (a classification for animals that share the same body type) contain some bioluminescent species. Scientists don't yet understand all facets of bioluminescence, but they have managed to harness the glow and use it in a myriad of ways.

Bioluminescence: Nature and Science at Work is a deeply researched and well explained book. The science of bioluminescence is something scientists are still studying and exploring, they do not fully understand the hows and whys of it. However, this book gives interested readers a comprehensive look at what we do know and understand, and how we came to know it. The exploration of using bioluminescence as a microscope, bioluminescent proteins, and the creatures that use bioluminescence is fascinating and explained well here. I found the book to be fairly dense and would recommend it for older readers and adults, since it is reasonably advanced. This is not for new or easily discouraged readers. I found the explanations and photographs to be interesting, understandable, and engaging.

Bioluminescence: Nature and Science at Work is a well organized and very informative read. I do not think it is for the casual reader, but more for older children and adults that already have some interest in the subject. It is still an engaging and interesting, but more involved and detailed that I was expecting, which is just what a dedicated researcher will be looking for.


Author Marc Zimmer, a world-renowned specialist in fluorescent proteins, takes readers on a glowing journey into the frontiers of bioluminescence. 

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