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One Single Species: Why the Connections In Nature Matter

Follow the scientific steps of a famous ecologist as he sets up an historic, multi-year experiment to investigate what happens when one single species is removed from an ecosystem.

One Single Species

Millions of species of plants, animals, fungi and other living things occur on Earth. So why should we be concerned about the future of any individual one?

How could the loss of just one single species even matter?

Discover some of the fascinating creatures that live on the wave-scoured rocks of the Washington coast as you learn about the historic research of Dr. Robert T. Paine. His remarkable experiment in the intertidal zone helped answer this question and changed forever the way scientists look at nature.

Reviews of One Single Species

“Through beautiful artwork and engaging text, this book not only tells the important story of historic research by a remarkable scientist, but also communicates the great importance of understanding natural history and the complexities of nature.”

Dr. Paul Dayton
Professor Emeritus Scripps Institution of Oceanography

One Single Species is a gem, in its clearly-written text and revealing art. It describes pioneering research–on an ocean coast–that led to a new understanding of the interconnections of life in an ecosystem. Readers will learn that loss of just one “keystone” species can cause dramatic changes in the lives and survival of others. The author gives further examples of birds, insects, crustaceans, and mammals that are also vital keystones in their habitats. This book will be useful in STEM programs, and there is nothing quite like it in school libraries.”

Laurence Pringle
Author of 120 books for children (mostly nonfiction)

“Useful, informative, beautifully illustrated, and well written—a superior introduction to understanding ecosystems.”

— Kirkus Reviews


“This carefully detailed book invites the reader to move in for a close-up view of the intertidal ecosystem on the coast of Washington state. It also provides an invitation into the mind of a scientist. Intermediate and middle school teachers will find many avenues for inspiring students with the beautiful illustrations, the delineation of science process skills, the compelling portrait of a scientist in action, and the connections to ecosystems around the world.”

Judith Youngquist
Teacher in Alaska public schools – 30 years
Adjunct professor at University of Alaska Anchorage – 5 years
Mentor trainer and teacher mentor for the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project – 9 years

“An author can give no higher praise to a new book than to say,”I wish I had written that.” Susan Quinlan’s new picture book on keystone species certainly lands on my “favorites” list. It is a significant addition to the science realm for elementary students. Susan’s illustrations are spot on and capture the glory and intricacies of a Pacific tidal change and how habitats can hinge on a single species. I really appreciate her giving tribute to the scientists who did this work over decades, especially Bob Paine. This is a must have for the classroom and library.”

Shelley Gill

Alaska’s Three Bears, Thunderfeet, Swimmer,
The Last American Rainforest, Big Blue

“By explaining how a scientist approached a question and conducted his study, Susan Quinlan has crafted an engaging story and beautiful book in the tradition of her books The Case of the Mummified Pigs and The Case of the Monkeys that Fell from the Trees. … Readers and teachers will find the last part of the book a treasure trove that provides natural history facts about the book’s species and worldwide examples. … I will use this book in my own teaching this spring and recommend that the district add it to the curriculum as a resource for all teachers.”

Peggy Cowan
Longterm School Superintendent & Outdoor Educator

“Immerse yourself in a tidal ecosystem and into one scientist’s search for an answer. …Readers will come away with an understanding of the many inhabitants of the intertidal zone and the roles they each play. More importantly they will discover why connections matter everywhere in our lives….”

Karen Zuckerman
Chair, Sun Foundation Clean Water Celebration

“Susan Quinlan’s One Single Species: Why the Connections in Nature Matter is an outstanding children’s book that tells a scientific story about ecological interrelationships accurately and engagingly. “

Marilyn Sigman
retired Alaska Sea Grant marine educator,
winner of the 2020 John Burroughs Medal in Natural History Writing
for Entangled: People and Ecological Change in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay.

“… In all honesty, “One Single Species” should be on every coffee table, in every library and every schoolroom; Why? Because we need publications like this that not only teach the next generations these concepts and values, but also enlightens the generations making decisions affecting the future of our planet.”

Doug Gualtieri

Read complete reviews here.


ISBN: 978-0-9970077-4-9 (Hardcover)
978-0-9970077-6-3 (Paperback)
978-0-9970077-2-5 (eBook)
Publication Date:  March 10, 2020
Pages: 44
Grade Level: 4th and up