Eat, Poop, Die

How Animals Make Our World

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By Joe Roman, PhD

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$19.99 CAD

Conservation biologist Joe Roman reveals how ecosystems are sculpted and sustained by animals eating, pooping, and dying — and how these fundamental biological functions could help save us from climate catastrophe. 

If forests are the lungs of the planet, then animals restlessly migrating across oceans, streams, and mountains — eating, pooping, and dying along the way — are its heart and arteries, pumping nitrogen and phosphorus from deep-sea gorges up to mountain peaks, from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Without this conveyor belt of crucial, life-sustaining nutrients, the world would look very different. 

The dynamics that shape our physical world — atmospheric chemistry, geothermal forces, plate tectonics, and erosion through wind and rain — have been explored for decades. The ecological and evolutionary consequences of competition and predation have been known since Darwin boarded the Beagle. But the effects on local ecosystems of less glamorous forces — rotting carcasses and deposited feces — as well as their impact on the global climate cycle, have been largely overlooked. The simple truth is that defecation and excretion, or poop and pee, are part of the daily rituals for almost all animals, the ellipses of ecology that flow through life. Just as we compete for mates and resources, we eat, we poop, and we die.
From the volcanoes of Iceland to the tropical waters of Hawaii, the great plains of the American heartland, and beyond, Eat, Poop, Die takes readers on an exhilarating and enlightening global adventure, revealing the remarkable ways in which the most basic biological activities of animals make and remake the world — and how a deeper understanding of these cycles provides us with opportunities to undo the environmental damage humanity has wrought on the planet we call home.


  • "Absolutely fascinating—and you will read it with an entirely new appreciation and respect for the role that all the other animals on this earth play in making it work.”—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

On Sale
Nov 7, 2023
Page Count
304 pages
Little Brown Spark

Joe Roman, PhD

About the Author

Joe Roman is a conservation biologist, marine ecologist, and editor ’n’ chef of Winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award for Listed, Roman has written for the New York Times, Science, Slate, and other publications. Like many of the animals he studies, Roman is a free-range biologist. He has worked at Harvard University, the Duke University Marine Lab, University of Iceland, University of Havana, and University of Vermont, where he is a fellow and writer in residence at the Gund Institute for Environment.

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