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They can be rather inquisitive though, which can lead to some unnerving moments for SCUBA divers (it can be quite a shock to notice a venomous snake swimming happily around your legs).
While studying sea snakes in Taiwan, Liu noticed that the numbers of sea snakes they observed among tidal pools and shallow waters declined sharply in the day or so prior to Typhoon Morakot in August 2009 (Fig.2); only one individual snake was spotted on the evening prior to the onset of the typhoon, compared to 20 or more per site on other dates.
Once the storm had passed, numbers of snakes returned almost immediately to their pre-typhoon levels, making mass mortality of snakes during storm conditions seem an unlikely explanation for the decline. For example, if conditions were worsening prior to the storm proper, this might have made it more difficult for the researchers to spot snakes in the field – which would mean that the observed decline was simply a sampling artefact.
Having read much of Dawkins’ output, sitting down with this book was like settling down with an old friend.
The writing is unambiguously clear and engaging, and the book sparkles with warm good humour and genuine enthusiasm for the subject. Being a biology graduate, and having read a decent amount around the subject, I found that there was little in there that I had not encountered before.
I’ve agreed to write regular pieces on marine biology for The Twenty-First Floor, a site devoted to science and scepticism in Scotland.
This is particularly appropriate, because I will shortly be moving to Scotland to take up post-doctoral position., for those who are not aware, is Dawkins’ attempt to lay out in one book the current evidence for evolution.His previous books have been more focused on explaining what evolution is and how it works, and while this inevitably involved much discussion of the evidence, he admits that nowhere has he set down an explicit catalogue of the evidence that evolution is real.I realise that this puts me way behind everyone else, and therefore it is probably somewhat pointless to review it, as most people likely to read this will have already read the book!Still, I want to give it a go, as I thought it might be interesting to write the occasional book review, and this is an easy one to start with.On the other hand, if the decline was real and not just due to difficulty spotting snakes, it could have been a response to increasing wave height, rather than anticipation of a coming storm.