Mysterious Manatees by John E. Reynolds III
Photographs by Karen Glaser

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"Through her evocative photographs, Karen Glaser takes us swimming with Florida's manatees.  Through her eyes we see the light-dappled world where manatees move with unexpected grace.  And we witness the tenderness with which these massive creatures greet each other and their benign curiosity. But Glaser's photos also reveal the scars too many of the creatures bear, evidence of human disregard and even occasional malice toward these unassuming giants.  I am delighted to see Karen Glaser and John Reynolds collaborate to make the manatee's underwater world even better known."--Jennifer Bine, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

"From his days as a graduate student studying wild manatees from a canoe to his chairmanship of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, John Reynolds has been at the center of manatee research and conservation efforts.  You will find no better guide to the complexities of the manatee's situation today."--Daryl Domning, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

"Through these remarkable photographs we see that the lumbering bulk of the manatee has both grace and curiosity, as well as divinity and humor. Karen Glaser, as an artist, brings us into their private world, showing us over and over how much like these odd creatures we ourselves are."--David Travis, Art Institute of Chicago

"From the summer of 1996 through January 1997, more than 350,000 visitors to the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History saw 'Mysterious Manatees: Photographs by Karen Glaser.' Each photograph sent the viewer on a journey into a mysterious, murky underwater void, where giant behemoths magically appear and drift by. This magical journey enticed visitors to learn more about the biology and habitat of these gentle, endangered animals. Ms. Glaser's photographs proved to be a tremendous success and paved the way for subsequent museum projects that combined art and science. It is gratifying to see such a collaboration between photographer Glaser and scientist John Reynolds in this book based on Glaser's original exhibition."--Joe Madeira, National Museum of Natural History

Mysterious Manatees is a synergistic partnership between photographer Karen Glaser and writer and scholar John Reynolds, two of the nation's leading interpreters--one artistic, one scientific--of the life and underwater habitat of the manatee.  This union of science and art makes for a compelling exploration of the manatee through two independent essays--one textual, one visual--in a book addressed to both specialists and a general audience.

To some, an emblem of the tranquility and beauty of natural Florida, to others an obstacle to fast-track growth and good times, the endangered Florida manatee arouses the passions of those who have encountered it and the curiosity of those who have only heard about this huge, enigmatic inhabitant of Florida's coastal waterways.

The book opens with Reynolds's scientific account of the interactions between people and manatees, describing the history of manatee hunting, relating what is known about their early distribution and survival, and clarifying the debate about whether manatees are native to Florida.

Reynolds also discusses manatee biology and the features that make the animal especially vulnerable to human activities. Reynolds's complete and authoritative account of manatee biology, management, and conservation concludes with a gallery of plates featuring Glaser's remarkable panoramic photographs. Glaser’s 52 beautiful duotone prints capture an intimate, distinctively natural vision of manatees in their own environment, an underwater world illuminated only by the sunlight above. The manatees were photographed in all the diverse conditions that comprise their environment: mud, muck, clear water, rain, sunny or cloudy weather--all illuminate the forms of these magnificent animals.  Mysterious Manatees will appeal to wildlife professionals, amateur naturalists, environmentalists, and lovers of fine photography as a unique combination of fact and image that provides a compelling sense of the mysterious presence of these large yet gentle and graceful sea creatures.

Karen Glaser is a specialist in underwater photography.

John E. Reynolds III is chairman of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, manager of the Manatee Research Program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, and professor of marine science and biology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida..

Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places


About John E. Reynolds III

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Karen Glaser, a specialist in underwater photography, is the coauthor of Alternative Photographic Process. "Mysterious Manatees," a traveling exhibit of her work organized by the National Museum of Natural History and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution, has been presented throughout the United States. Reynolds is manatee research program manager at Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, and professor marine science at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg.
Published September 19, 2003 by University Press of Florida. 208 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Arts & Photography, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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