11 Books to Explore the Mysteries of the Ocean Deep

Beneath the waves is a place of wonder, filled with creatures that are as beautiful as they are strange. But while the ocean covers almost seventy percent of the Earth’s surface, we know remarkably little about it. Scientists estimate that there are between ten and thirty million species of undersea life yet to be discovered. These eleven books will illuminate the mysterious depths of the ocean and the adventurous, curious, and passionate scientists who dare to discover the Earth’s greatest unexplored frontier.

The Secret Life of Lobsters
by Trevor Corson

How much do you really know about lobster? This intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and an eccentric band of renegade biologists escorts the reader onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.

by Wendy Williams

Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. Accessible and entertaining, this book takes the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science. It is essential reading for fans of popular science.

by Hali Felt

Before Marie Tharp’s groundbreaking work in the 1950s, the ocean floor was a mystery. By transforming dry data into beautifully detailed maps, she completely changed our understanding of the planet’s evolution, upendeding scientific consensus and ushering in a new era in geology and oceanography.

The Deep
by Claire Nouvian

Combining the latest scientific discoveries with astonishing pictures, this beautiful book celebrates the incredible diversity of life on Earth and will captivate anyone intrigued by the unseen—and unimaginable—creatures of the deep sea.

The Silent World
by Jacques Cousteau

Before becoming the man who introduced us to the wonders of the sea through his beloved television series, Jacques Cousteau was known as the inventor of scuba diving. This memoir of his early days of underwater adventure was an instant international bestseller upon its publication in 1953 and remains a fascinating glimpse into the life and work of a true legend.

The Soul of an Octopus
by Sy Montgomery

Explore the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature. After forming a friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus, Sy Montgomery traveled from New England aquariums to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico to pursue these wildly entertaining and profound shapeshifters.

War of the Whales
by Joshua Horwitz

The gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—that drives whales onto beaches. This real-life thriller combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.

by James Nestor

In this chronicle of a voyage from the ocean’s surface to its darkest trenches, James Nestor embeds with a gang of oceangoing extreme athletes and renegade researchers. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines, and the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.

The Reef
by Iain McCalman

Stretching 1,400 miles along the Australian coast and visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is home to three thousand individual reefs and thousands of marine species. Historian and explorer Iain McCalman takes us on an adventure into the reef to reveal how our shifting perceptions of the natural world have shaped this extraordinary seascape.

The Sea Around Us
by Rachel Carson

Published in 1951, this classic work remains one of the most successful books ever written about the natural world. Simply put, Rachel Carson captures the mystery and allure of the ocean with a compelling blend of imagination and expertise.

Sensuous Seas
by Eugene H. Kaplan

Marine biologist Eugene Kaplan offers readers an irresistibly irreverent voyage through the world of sea creatures, with a look at their habitats, their beauty and, yes, even their sex lives. This one-of-a-kind memoir allows the reader to experience the incredible complexity of sea life.