If You're Going to San Francisco...
You can leave your heart in San Francisco, but please keep your trash out of its bay. Surrounded by cities, losing freshwater input and suffering from diking, filling and the introduction of exotic species, California's 1,600-square-mile bay-delta estuary has endured enough hardship. San Francisco Bay: Portrait of an Estuary (University of California Press, $34.95) demonstrates that even though the Bay is in dire straits, there's plenty left to celebrate. Photographer David Sanger captures the natural and man-made beauty of the area, and author John Hart's lively vignettes chronicle its history and describe environmental initiatives that could one day restore equilibrium to this delicate ecosystem.—Frank Diller
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Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.
Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.
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