“One Single Species describes the fascinating research project that inspired me to become a scientist. I am delighted to see this wonderfully illustrated book bring the story of this important research to the attention of a new generation.”

Dr. Tim Wootton, The University of Chicago

One Single Species
Why the Connections in Nature Matter

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 type?

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)

“The author’s beautiful full-spread illustrations capture the atmosphere, variety, and splendor of Washington’s coast along with lovely depictions of sea life and other creatures. Without getting overly technical, Quinlan explains the sometimes-complicated concepts with clarity and energy. She gives readers a chance to see how a working scientist conducts experiments, conveying a sense of exploration, curiosity, and wonder at the interconnectedness of things. … Useful, informative, beautifully illustrated, and well written—a superior introduction to understanding ecosystems.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“…The reader will learn about not only the process of scientifically testing an idea, but also that this process is not simple or easy. They 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….Enjoy!”  (full review)

Karen Zuckerman
Chair, Sun Foundation Clean Water Celebration

“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.”   (full review)

Judith Youngquist
Teacher in Alaska public schools – 30 years
Adjunct professor at University of Alaska Anchorage – 5 years
Mentor & teacher trainer 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.”  (full review)

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

“…The story uses Dr. Robert Paine’s experiments with sea stars on the northwest coast to explain the concepts of experimental design in life science and keystone species. The narrative’s vivid imagery transports the reader to the natural settings; illustrations further provide a sense of place by incorporating scientifically accurate details….”   (full review)

Peggy Cowan
Longterm School Superintendent & Outdoor Educator

“… an outstanding children’s book that tells a scientific story about ecological interrelationships accurately and engagingly.”   (full review)

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.

One Single Species tells a story of paramount importance and significance to our understanding of the world with incredibly rich illustrations and thoughtful informative language.  (full review)

Doug Gualtieri

Janet Carrier Ady

“What a vibrant resource for young people to learn the vital role of a keystone species in an ecosystem!… I would use this book with learners of any age, even with adults new to environmental learning, as the beautiful artwork and succinct, accurate text clearly convey a rather abstract concept. ”

– Janet Ady, Ph.D.
Environmental Educator r

“…The detailed and colorful illustrations of the intertidal ecosystem being studied by Scientist Bob are coupled with the story of how one person’s curiosity and commitment can make a significant difference in the world….”

– Chiara D’Amore, Ph.D.
President, The Community Ecology Institute
Director, Columbia Families in Nature

Doug Gualtieri

One Single Species tells a story of paramount importance and significance to our understanding of the world with incredibly rich illustrations and thoughtful informative language.,,,”

– Doug Gualtieri

Emily Newton

“…From cover to cover, it is a wealth of scientific knowledge and most importantly a story that inspires us to continue learning.”

– Emily Newton
Undersea Specialist
Scientific Diver and Marine Ecology Research Technician

“Readers will be amply rewarded with sound science presented with great artistry.”
Gary Raham


Click here to read these and other reviews for One Single Species.


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
Available from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Amazon


A naturalist, artist, and author, Susan E. Quinlan brings a lifetime of nature exploration and research to her writing and illustrations. Trained as a wildlife biologist, with degrees from Colorado State University (B.S.) and the University of Alaska (M.S.), Quinlan conducted wildlife research in Alaska and also developed many educational materials about nature.  She went on to work as a naturalist guide for Lindblad Expeditions. This enabled her to explore and learn about diverse environments from the high arctic to rainforests, arid deserts to oceanic islands.  

Quinlan’s previous books for young readers, published by Boyds Mills Press and Carolrhoda Books, have received awards and recognition from the International Reading Association, The Junior Library Guild, and the National Science Teaching Association and Children’s Book Council. Visit her website at: www.susanquinlan.com