Below the Edge of Darkness (Digital Audiobook)
A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea
Publication Date: July 26, 2021
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“Edith Widder’s story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration, and groundbreaking research. She’s done things I dream of doing.”—James Cameron
Edith Widder’s childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist was almost derailed in college, when complications from a surgery gone wrong caused temporary blindness. A new reality of shifting shadows drew her fascination to the power of light—as well as the importance of optimism.
As her vision cleared, Widder found the intersection of her two passions in oceanic bioluminescence, a little-explored scientific field within Earth’s last great unknown frontier: the deep ocean. With little promise of funding or employment, she leaped at the first opportunity to train as a submersible pilot and dove into the darkness.
Widder’s first journey into the deep ocean, in a diving suit that resembled a suit of armor, took her to a depth of eight hundred feet. She turned off the lights and witnessed breathtaking underwater fireworks: explosions of bioluminescent activity. Concerns about her future career vanished. She only wanted to know one thing: Why was there so much light down there?
Below the Edge of Darkness takes readers deep into our planet’s oceans as Widder pursues her questions about one of the most important and widely used forms of communication in nature. In the process, she reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of behaviors and animals, from microbes to leviathans, many never before seen or, like the legendary giant squid, never before filmed in their deep-sea lairs. Alongside Widder, we experience life-and-death equipment malfunctions and witness breakthroughs in technology and understanding, all set against a growing awareness of the deteriorating health of our largest and least understood ecosystem.
A thrilling adventure story as well as a scientific revelation, Below the Edge of Darkness reckons with the complicated and sometimes dangerous realities of exploration. Widder shows us how when we push our boundaries and expand our worlds, discovery and wonder follow. These are the ultimate keys to the ocean’s salvation—and thus to our future on this planet.
About the Author
Edith Widder is an oceanographer, a marine biologist, and the co-founder, CEO, and senior scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, a non-profit organization where she is focusing her passion for saving the ocean into developing innovative technologies needed to preserve and protect the ocean's most precious real estate--its estuaries. She has given three TED talks and been awarded a prestigious MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as the Explorer's Club Citation of Merit and is the first recipient of the Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration established by the Marine Technology Society and the Society of Underwater Technology.