The Hidden Universe

Adventures in Biodiversity

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Pub Date 12 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 05 Sep 2022

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An unforgettable exploration of the natural world and the concept of biodiversity—what it is, why it matters, and how we as individuals can work to preserve it.
We are now living in an environmental emergency. As climate change, habitat loss, and other threats have placed almost one-fifth of all species on Earth at risk of extinction in the coming decades, a deeper understanding of biodiversity has never been more important. Biodiversity encompasses the rich variety of all life on Earth—the building blocks of life that provide invaluable sources of food, medicine, clothing, building materials, and more.

Marking the arrival of a bold new voice in popular science, The Hidden Universe shows readers what’s at stake in the fight to protect and restore biodiversity, but also what can and should be done now to protect our planet and ourselves for the future. As director of science at one of the world’s largest research organizations in plant and fungal sciences, Brazilian-born scientist Alexandre Antonelli is ideally suited to reveal the wonders of biodiversity at a genetic, species, and ecosystem level—what biodiversity is, how it works, and why it is the most important tool in our battle against climate change. Antonelli offers recommendations for large-scale political changes, as well as smaller, practical steps that readers can implement in their own lives and homes. With Antonelli as our guide, The Hidden Universe helps us imagine a future where biodiversity is not just preserved but cherished.
An unforgettable exploration of the natural world and the concept of biodiversity—what it is, why it matters, and how we as individuals can work to preserve it.
We are now living in an...

Advance Praise

“Antonelli takes us on a spellbinding adventure across his hidden universe, which he begins as a child, stargazing over the rainforests of Brazil. Passionately, Antonelli tells us how the stars he gazed at remain the same, but all the forests of his childhood adventures have gone: this hidden universe, the natural world, is disappearing before our very eyes. But Antonelli’s profound contribution to conservation science persuades us that as long as there are habitats and species left, and a willingness to care for them, we can fix things; put right our disastrous disfigurement of nature, and take one last chance to restore the beautiful natural world we inherited. Antonelli helps us to see a better future, and his gift to the world is hope.” ― Chris Thorogood, Deputy Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum and author of 'Weird Plants'

“Scientific storytelling is a tough job. After years of training to write in a ruthlessly emotionless and impartial way, it is often totally alien for us science geeks to communicate our passion in books, talks, and on television in the same way we talk in the pub. That’s why finding a book like this is so rare: An epic adventure into the miracles of the natural world, guided by one of the world’s foremost scientists. This is the escape we all need right now.” ― James Wong, ethnobotanist and TV presenter

The Hidden Universe is a sweeping road map to biodiversity science and conservation, from Linnaeus and the dodo to the Convention on Biological Diversity and pet hamsters. Updated and opinionated, part primer and part autobiographical account, it provides an engaging introduction for those who want to start exploring the main scientific and policy issues around biodiversity.” ― Sandra Diaz, professor of ecology, National University of Córdoba

“An extraordinary journey into the world of biodiversity. Accessible and ambitious, the book covers everything from species to climate change, from evolution to nature, from habitat loss to global solutions. Each of these complex topics is covered deftly and intelligently. The Hidden Universe offers a deep and up-to-date insight into biodiversity science in action from one of the world’s leading plant scientists.” ― Luke Keogh, author of 'The Wardian Case'

“Antonelli takes us on a spellbinding adventure across his hidden universe, which he begins as a child, stargazing over the rainforests of Brazil. Passionately, Antonelli tells us how the stars he...

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ISBN 9780226821870
PRICE $22.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

The best science communicators can communicate a lot of science in way that is both interesting and easy to understand. That’s exactly what Alexandre Antonelli has done in this wonderful book. He explores the vast variety of living things, why that diversity is important, and how humans are diminishing biodiversity. In the second half of the book he delves into what we can do to protect biodiversity both as a society and as individuals. I feel like this is in immensely important book because it so clearly lays out importance, problems, and solutions related to biodiversity. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest opinion.

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An absolutely splendid book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As someone who in September will be starting a Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Degree it was a very useful resource and I believe should be provided to all secondary school children to read and perhaps study. If we are to make a difference then we need to be teaching these things from a young age. A beautiful book that I will indeed purchase in paperback when it comes out.

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In The Hidden Universe: Adventures in Biodiversity, Alexandre Antonelli encourages us to look, not to the skies, but to the Earth and to marvel in the wonders of nature. As you might expect, this book covers the effect of global warming on biodiversity but also it looks at other factors such as habitat and use of certain chemicals. The end offers a concrete list of practical things an individual could do given their situation, of which some are quite nuanced. For example, he encourages people to really think about getting a pet, from their environmental impact as meat eaters as well as those pets, such as outdoor cats, that kill and harm other wildlife - something I personally would not have considered.

On the whole, this book is pretty informative, if a little short for my liking (!), but would be perfect for someone beginning their journey into the topic.

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As climate change and habitat destruction grow ever more dire, it’s important to identify the best ways to preserve biodiversity. This short but powerful book stresses an ecosystem approach over a species approach, given the interconnectedness of the natural world. It’s entertaining and easy to read—and offers strong warnings about the consequences of inaction.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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