In this collection of 11 fascinating essays, author and science writer McLeish (Golden Wings and Hairy Toes) accompanies marine biologists, fisheries experts,and fishermen on voyages along the coasts of New England and the maritime provinces of Canada to study 10 marine species: humpback whales, Atlantic halibut, harbor porpoises, horseshoe crabs, petrels, leatherback turtles, bay scallops, Atlantic wolf fish, harlequin ducks, and basking sharks. In each chapter, McLeish describes various marine research stations, interviews with marine scientists, and boat trips for observation. Unfortunately for McLeish, seeing the animals can be difficult–changing ecology (thanks to invasive species like Japanese seaweed), overfishing, and (in the case of harlequin ducks) overhunting have caused populations to crash. Though protected by U.S. law, these animals are vulnerable when they migrate elsewhere–turtles nest on tropical beaches threatened by development, and the Asian demand for shark fins is rapidly depleting the oceans of these top predators. Like all the best science writing, McLeish writes engagingly about non-human subjects and the humans who study them. A hopeful recurring theme is the growing cooperation between research scientists and fishermen (such as the effort to free harbor porpoises from herring traps in the Maritimes), which keeps this highly informative book from drowning in bad news.