Holly Hogan is a writer and wildlife biologist with a focus on seabirds. During her more than thirty years as a scientist, she has spent about a thousand days at sea conducting avian and marine mammal surveys, and providing educational programming with expedition teams. Her work has taken her to the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, and every latitude in between. She has been interviewed for CBC Radio, appears in a National Film Board series called Ocean School, and provided expertise on seabirds and the impact of marine plastic for the award-winning documentary Hell or Clean Water (2021). Holly is a mother of three and lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland with her husband, Michael, and an assortment of cats and dogs, depending on the day.
Message in a Bottle: Ocean Dispatches from a Seabird Biologist
By Holly Hogan
Published by Knopf Canada (Penguin Random House Canada)
From the heart of the Labrador Current to the furthest reaches of our global oceans, Message in a Bottle conjures an exquisite diversity of marine life and warns of a central threat to its survival: ocean plastic.
The dovekie is a stocky seabird the size of a child’s heart that spends its winters on the coast of Newfoundland, thriving in one of the toughest climates on Earth. The polar bear is an apex predator, designed to persevere in the Arctic’s extreme conditions. The North Atlantic right whale outweighs the humpback by more than twenty tons and feeds on enormous quantities of tiny plankton in northeastern waters before migrating south for the winter. In Message in a Bottle, wildlife biologist and writer Holly Hogan brings to extraordinary life the wonder and resilience of these creatures and many other birds, fish and marine mammals she has encountered in sea voyages from the Arctic to the Antarctic oceans. However, in her travels she has noticed a troubling pattern: the constant presence of plastic, in the form of adrift fishing gear (“ghost gear”), garbage and micro-plastics which form an invisible but pervasive smog in our oceans and threaten even the most seemingly resilient forms of sea life.
Bringing together nature, science and adventure writing, Hogan shines a light on our plastic-addicted lifestyle and offers a compelling, eyewitness account of its devastating effects on the marine environment—70% of our planet. With lyrical prose and a reverential eye for the majesty and fragility of our natural world, Message in a Bottle is a clarion call to protect global oceans and the life they sustain, including our own.