Paper pub. date
June 2016
ISBN 9780870718540 (paperback)
6 x 9, 288 pages. 652 color photographs. Glossary.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes

George Poinar Jr.

From Northern California to British Columbia, coastal dunes and beaches provide a unique habitat for plants, animals, and insects. With A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes, hikers and beach walkers on the Pacific Coast will discover a teeming metropolis of life in what may seem a barren landscape to the inattentive eye.

Contrary to casual observation, intricate patterns of life occur in coastal dunes and along the strand. Plants, insects, and parasites abound. George Poinar’s in-depth knowledge of this hidden world is unsurpassed, and his enthusiasm for it is infectious. He has been investigating and photographing specimens along the Pacific Coast for more than four decades, and presents this trove of knowledge to the reader in a clear, engaging style.

Poinar exposes the small, almost blind weevils that live under driftwood and slowly degrade the wood, the omnipresent beach hoppers that leap up at every step and flee from vicious rove beetles, dune ants that search out aphids for honeydew but are attacked themselves by dive-bomber wasps. He shows why he considers Beach pea, Seashore lupine, and Coast willow keystone species because they provide food and shelter for so many different life forms.

With a focus on the associations between dune plants and other life forms, the book includes over 600 full-color photographs from the author’s extensive collection. While it is accessible enough to serve as a field guide for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, comprehensive data for biologists studying dune ecology are also included.

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden world of Pacific Northwest Dunes belongs on every beach house bookshelf from California to Canada. Naturalists, scientists, and anyone who walks along the coast will welcome this lavishly-illustrated reference.

About the author

GEORGE POINAR, JR. received his PhD from Cornell with an emphasis in entomology, botany, plant pathology, and vertebrate zoology. He has taught at the University of California at Riverside, University of California at Berkeley, and at Oregon State University. He is the author of many books, including Lebanese Amber (OSU Press).

Read more about this author

"... If there's a budding entomologist in your family, or a beachcomber with a love for bugs, put this book on your gift list right away."

Amy Klarup, Eugene Weekly


"In this book, George Poinar Jr. presents readers with 652 color photographs that provide an unsurpassed guide to birds, insects, and other invertebrates and, in some cases, fungi, and small mammals, associated with various communities, including kelp, driftwood, strand plants, and dune plants...This easy-to-use illustrated guide will allow campers, beachcombers, hikers, and occasional dune visitors to identify sand dune plants and their associated dwellers. This volume is an excellent contribution for anyone interested in learning more about coastal habitats."

-Fernando E. Vega, The Quarterly Review of Biology

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