This is a novel about the all too common practice in higher academia of hiring part time, non-tenure track faculty to teach students.
The faculty hired in these situations often cannot pursue research even though they likely have a Ph.D.
This fictional story is mostly set in the 1970s. It follows the tumultuous career of a professor interested in teaching and doing research in biological science.
The people who administered the university at the place of his employment expressly do not want faculty to be involved with research.
The professor in the story owns a Ph.D., which is a research degree.
He holds that being involved in research adds a beneficial dimension to his teaching.
Problems arise when he decides to undertake a research problem at his own expense and on his own time.
A marine invertebrate zoologist, his search for knowledge centers on the marine organisms that have settled on a lengthy set of pier pilings.
When this ultimately leads to publications by himself and with students, his bosses at the university find that seriously troublesome and they try to make him cease.
Dire consequences result. The author is a marine biologist and has taught university students for years.
So he has extensive experience with this subject area.
Of course, what is supposedly found out in the research undertaken in the story is fiction.
On the other hand, the marine organisms investigated are real enough species.
While the research findings of his main character may be imagined, the approaches to formulating questions and ways to answer them are very much as they might have been in reality.
What this author creates here is a telling of the troubles, trials, and tribulations that may come from pursuing new knowledge.