Between the Rocks and the Stars

Between the Rocks and the Stars

Narratives in Natural History

Stephen Daubert


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Nautilus Book Awards Silver Award Winner, Animals & Nature Category, 2020

These stories take readers where they cannot go, be it out into space, back in time, deep under the ocean, down to microscopic scales, or out onto the geologic overview.

Squid turn themselves inside-out when disturbed by predators hunting through the darkness with sonar. Beneficial microbes spend their summer living in nectar and being transferred between blooms by the bees, then spend the winter living within those bees. Ecological stories are seen through the eyes of squirrels, birds, fish, ants, butterflies, and beetles.

Between the Rocks and the Stars dives deep into the relationships that shape the natural world. The book presents a collection of vignettes from the wild, each of which describes the natural advantage of a particular organism. These true-to-life accounts are then posed in particular circumstances that illustrate the principles—commensalism, speciation—that shape the place of these organisms in their living environment. Some stories cover topics in geology and cosmology, describing the physical world context in which natural history progresses across the eons.

Underlying themes in the book include the network of connections that link all these organisms together and the adaptations they make to the physical world in which they must find themselves a home.


Stephen Daubert:
Stephen Daubert is a retired career scientist in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California–Davis. He has published two books of stories from natural history with Vanderbilt University Press: Threads from the Web of Life and The Shark and the Jellyfish, currently available in one deluxe paperback.