Bibliophile’s Book Find : Sun, Sand and Ecology

As the Spring 2010 semester closes at FSC, I’m sure that many of you are starting to plan trips to one of the many beaches along the Atlantic Coast. This year, before your trip, stop by the Reference Room of the Library to read through one of our newest additions to the collection – A Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: Beach Ecology from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras. Published in 2008 by Globe Pequot Press, this book was written by Scott W. Shumway who is a biology professor at Wheaton College.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore offers information about the various ecosystems that are found along the coastal region of the Atlantic Ocean, from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras. This book includes descriptions of habitats found along the coast, as well as plant and animal species that are found in there. A major portion of the guide is divided into chapters dedicated to these habitats, including rocky shores, sandy beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, salt marshes, tidal flats, seagrass meadows and the open ocean. Are you planning to go near Barnstable on the Cape this summer? Read pages 135 – 158, and you can learn about the plants and animals you’ll see in the marshes there, including Marsh Heather, fiddler crabs, Coffee Bean Snails and “no-see-ums”. Did you know that Deer Ticks are commonly found in thickets among beach dunes (pg. 104)? Did you know that the world’s second largest species of shark, the Basking Shark, can grow up to 40 feet, and that they can be seen at the Atlantic’s surface during the summer months (pg. 196)? Shumway has written this guide in a style that is both informative and entertaining. There are several sections in each chapter that are dedicated to interesting facts and environmental issues, such as shorebird protection, alien species that have invaded or integrated into the habitats, and a short history of the whaling industry and whale conservation in New England. There are also over 300 beautiful color photographs that depict life along the Atlantic coast included in this guide.

You can find this book in the Reference Room on the first floor of the Library. The call number is QH 541.5 S35 S527 2008. It is shelved in the “New Reference Books” section.

If you have any questions about this or any other resource, contact a Reference Librarian in person, by phone at 508-626-4654, by email at or IM at fscrefdesk. If you would like to suggest a treasure in the library’s Reference Room, please email me at


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