Stan Ulanski


On his book The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic

Cover Interview of April 06, 2009

In a nutshell

The book explores the fascinating story of the Gulf Stream, a powerful Atlantic Ocean current with a force 300 times that of the mighty Amazon.  During Europe’s dominance in the New World, the Gulf Stream sped ships laden with the fortunes in spices, sugar, and rum from the burgeoning colonies back to Spain and guided the ships of the buccaneers who preyed upon them.  Later, the current was essential to the development of the transatlantic slave trade.  So important was the Gulf Stream to all of this trade that early maps depicting its course were closely guarded secrets.

The Gulf Stream blends science and history and spans both distance and time to reveal how the Gulf Stream affects and is affected by every living thing that encounters it—from tiny planktonic organisms to giant bluefin tuna, from ancient mariners to big-game anglers.  The book examines the scientific discovery of ocean circulation, the biological life teeming in the stream, and the role of the ocean currents in the settlement of New World.  It is a story that connects the complex network of physics, biology, and human interactions that characterize our world.