Monarchs of the Sea: The Extraordinary 500-Million-Year History of Cephalopods
Three hearts, eight arms, and a 400 million year rule of the oceans. Read Danna Staaf’s ode to octopuses (and squid) with SciFri this June.
Welcome to the SciFri Book Club page about Monarchs of the Sea. There’s lots of ways to participate: Read the book, join our community space, attend an event, sign up for our email newsletter, or send a message on the SciFri VoxPop app.
This June, as a part of our Cephalopod Week celebrations, the SciFri Book Club will read Danna Staaf’s guidebook of our favorite underwater invertebrates through time, Monarchs of the Sea: The Extraordinary 500-Million-Year History of Cephalopods. Published in 2020, Monarchs of the Sea tells the story of the first “truly substantial” animals on Earth—squid, octopuses, cuttlefish and their ancestors—and how they’ve adapted to the modern oceans. How did the creatures that basically invented swimming learn to protect their soft, squishy bodies from increasingly dangerous predators? Staaf glides through the reign of cephalopods and their many innovations in intelligence, camouflage, communication and more.
Monarchs of the Sea brings together a range of topics, including animal intelligence, morphology, evolution, marine biology, geologic time, and more—and we’ll touch on these ideas throughout this Book Club season. You can get your copy from your local bookstore or on Bookshop.org.
This Book Club season kicks off Thursday, June 1, and you can read along with us! We’ll be (loosely) following this schedule, but all our readers are welcome to join us at their own pace:
Plus, we’ll be hosting events throughout the month! Keep an eye out on our website or join our Events newsletter to be the first to know.
There are so many ways to dive in and participate! You can grab a copy of the book (and support the author and SciFri), read an excerpt from Monarchs of the Sea, join the discussion in our online Book Club community, sign up for our email newsletter, or RSVP for our upcoming Book Club events. Check out all the details below.
If you’d like to purchase a physical copy, we encourage you to start local! Check out the SciFri Book Club partner bookstores and libraries—if you’re in the area, consider supporting your local bookseller or public library (plus, mention our Book Club for a percentage off your purchase at participating shops!).
If they don’t have the book in stock or you’d rather purchase online, you can support Science Friday by buying your copy on our Bookshop.org page.
If you’ve ever marveled at a squid as it used jet propulsion to swim by you in the sea, or ogled at an octopus living in your local aquarium, this livestream is for you! Join author Danna Staaf and squid biologist Sarah McAnulty for an evening among the cephalopods
Join us online for a conversation with the author on the squiddy science featured in the SciFri Book Club pick for June 2023. Come with your queries and wonderings—we’ll be taking your questions in the livestream comments!
Want to meet other SciFri Book Club members, talk about the book selection, and find more resources for deeper learning—all without leaving your home? Our community meeting is the place for you!
This discussion meeting will focus on themes and topics featured in Monarchs of the Sea. You’re welcome to join us no matter your reading progress—come chat with other science-interested folks about animal intelligence, morphology, evolution, marine biology, geologic time, and more.
And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the SciFri Book Club is on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather, read and discuss science books together. We’ve built this community space to create a better way for readers to stay connected with other Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there!
Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We’ve got you covered.
The Experiment, the publisher of Monarchs of the Sea, has offered SciFri Book Clubbers an excerpt of the book! You can read this sample on our website.