Petuch, Edward J. 1949-

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Petuch, Edward J. 1949-


Born 1949. Education: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, B.A., M.S.; University of Miami, Ph.D.


Office—Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, FL 33431. E-mail—[email protected]


Oceanographer and paleontologist. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, faculty member in department of geosciences.


(With Dennis M. Sargent) Atlas of the Living Olive Shells of the World, Coastal Education and Research Foundation (Fort Lauderdale, FL), 1986.

New Caribbean Molluscan Faunas, Coastal Education and Research Foundation (Charlottesville, VA), 1987.

Field Guide to the Ecphoras, Coastal Education and Research Foundation (Charlottesville, VA), 1988.

Neogene History of Tropical American Mollusks: Biogeography & Evolutionary Patterns of Tropical Western Atlantic Mollusca, Coastal Education and Research Foundation (Charlottesville, VA), 1988.

The Edge of the Fossil Sea: Life along the Shores of Prehistoric Florida, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (Sanibel Island, FL), 1992.

Coastal Paleoceanography of Eastern North America: (Miocene-Pleistocene), Kendall/Hunt (Dubuque, IA), 1997.

Cenozoic Seas: The View from Eastern North America, CRC Press (Boca Raton, FL), 2004.

(With Charles E. Roberts) The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas, CRC Press (Boca Raton, FL), 2007.

The Geology of the Florida Keys and Everglades: An Illustrated Field Guide to Florida's Hidden Beauty, Thomson Custom Solutions (Stamford, CT), 2008.


Edward J. Petuch studied zoology at the University of Wisconsin, earning his undergraduate and master's degrees before moving on to complete a doctorate in oceanography at the University of Miami. His primary areas of research and academic interest include the geology, biostratigraphy, and invertebrate paleontology as it pertains to the region of the Florida peninsula, and the coastal plain of the Atlantic. He is also interested in western Atlantic mollusks, both current and in fossil form, investigating their ecology, biogeography, and systematics, and in research pertaining to catastrophes of a global, biological type, such as extinction theory and paleoclimatology. He is the author of a number of books, both on his own and with coauthors, including The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas, which he wrote with Charles E. Roberts.

In The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas, Petuch and Roberts address the issues facing the Everglades area of Florida. They trace the history of this unique wetlands area, delving into the current trends toward destroying the region in an effort to put the land to more profitable use. The only upside to this constant environmental ruination is that it inadvertently uncovers information about the geological history of the area, even if it is destroyed shortly thereafter. The book includes a disk that provides readers with animated maps and an aerial view simulation that illustrates the way the Everglades have changed.

Petuch told CA: "As a child, I was greatly inspired by the writings of Rachel Carson (particularly her poetic writing in The Edge of the Sea and Under the Sea Wind. I wanted to write books similar to hers, with the hope of inspiring other young scientists and naturalists. My doctoral adviser, Gilbert Voss, later taught me how to write in a scientific style. I like to combine both types of writing.

"I draw my inspiration from the awesome beauty of both the sea and long-lost prehistoric worlds. I want to capture my perceptions on paper, so as to share my passion for nature with future generations of naturalists.

"My books are generally heavily illustrated (a throwback to the beautiful illustrations that I admired in Rachel Carson's The Edge of the Sea), so I complete all the illustrations first (photographs, plates of figures, maps, diagrams, etc.). Then I weave the text around the illustrations, using the figures as a skeleton on which to flesh-out my ideas. I write and edit the text in my head for months prior to actually sitting down and putting the ideas on paper. When I do start the writing process, it comes out as clean copy, without major editing.

"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is the fact that writing, for me, does not get any easier with time—regardless of the number of books and papers that I've written. I still agonize over every sentence!

"My favorite book that I have written is The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas (with Charles E. Roberts). It was fun compiling the history of exploration in southern Florida and redefining and describing the local geology and paleontology. Charles and I found it very exciting to create the first simulated images of prehistoric Florida as viewed from outer space, a visual technique that has never been used before. I'm also proud of the hundreds of beautiful photographs of fossils taken by Mardie Drolshagen.

"I have two goals for my books: one is to share my appreciation of the beauty of nature with both professional scientists and amateur naturalists alike, and the other is to add to the body of scientific knowledge by publishing new discoveries. I also hope that my books are exciting identification and field guides, inspiring future generations of young scientists and explorers."



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, September 2004, P.K. Strother, review of Cenozoic Seas: The View from Eastern North America, p. 135; October 2007, C.W. Dimmick, review of The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas, p. 312.

SciTech Book News, March, 2004, review of Cenozoic Seas, p. 57; September, 2007, review of The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas.


Florida Atlantic University Geosciences Department Web site, (February 24, 2008), faculty profile of Edward J. Petuch.