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152 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 15, No.1
Book Reviews of the Northeastern Naturalist, Issue 15/1, 2008
How Birds Migrate. Paul Kerlinger.
1995. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg,
PA. 228 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN
9780811724449. Kerlinger bridges the
gap between technical writing and the
popular literature in his presentation of
the state of knowledge on the various aspects
of bird migration. Starting with why
birds migrate, Kerlinger then describes
how scientists have met the challenges
in their study of migration. Subsequent
chapters address specific aspects and mechanics
of migration including the basics
of flight, air currents and weather, the season,
by day or night, barriers to migration,
rest stops, speed and distance, navigation,
altitude of flight, flocking behavior, calls,
and flight strategies. Chapters are punctuated
with case studies, usually a paragraph
that illustrates a particular point
with a specific example. Pencil drawings
supplement the text. The book concludes
with a chapter on conservation and resources
for additional reading. Anyone
with an interest in birds and a fascination
with migration will find this book interesting
and informative. C.R.
Galileo’s Instruments of Credit: Telescopes,
Images, Secrecy. Mario Biagioli.
2006. The University of Chicago Press,
Chicago, IL. 302 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN
9780226045627. Biagioli presents a
unique angle on the life of one of history’s
most noted mathematicians and philosophers.
The author looks at how Galileo’s
personal economy and his desire for
credit and recognition either drove or was
determined by his career. Three periods of
his life—as teacher, court theologian, and
as the subject of dispute between theologians
regarding his support of Copernican
astronomy—are examined. Baigioli interprets
circumstances surrounding how and
why Galileo’s inventions and publications
were created and marketed. Consequences
of Galileo’s decisions are detailed as well.
Readers interested in Galileo, the history
of astronomy, and how economic circumstances
and implications affect how and
why discoveries are revealed will find this
book to be intriguing reading. C.R.
Predator Upon a Flower: Life History
and Fitness in a Crab Spider. Douglass
H. Morse. 2007. Harvard University
Press, Cambridge, MA. 377 pp. $49.95,
hardcover. ISBN 9780674024809.
Through the author’s extensive studies of
the crab spider, Misumena vatia, related
here, the reader will learn a great deal not
only about this one creature, but about
fitness and the variables that determine
evolutionary success. Morse relates the
details of his rigorous studies, their rational
and their outcome, in such a way that
the reader may find this book hard to put
down. He describes the basic biology of
his subject and then moves on to foraging
strategies, fitness payoffs, and constraints
on success. A particularly interesting
chapter describes experience, learning,
and innate behavior (of a spider!)
Substrate choices, morphological variation,
and male-female interactions are
also covered. The community of which
Misumena is a part includes competitors
for resources such as other spiders and
ants, and predators. Misumena’s impact
as predator of pollinators and the impacts
of some herbivores on Misumena are discussed.
The implications of Morse’s studies
on this single organism for the study
of others and an understanding of population,
community, and ecosystem ecology
are woven into discussion throughout the
text. Truly a captivating narrative of an
astounding body of work on this organism.
Foundation Papers in Landscape Ecology.
John A. Wiens, Michael R. Moss,
Monica G. Turner, and David J. Mladenoff
(Eds.). 2007. Columbia University Press,
New York, NY. 582 pp. $47, softcover.
ISBN 0231126816. This volume contains
37 papers published prior to 1990, the
earliest published in 1915. Some of the
earlier papers have been translated from
German or Russian. The book is arranged
thematically rather than chronologically.
The interdisciplinary roots of landscape
ecology are highlighted in the first part
followed by papers demonstrating a
growing interest in spatial pattern. The
emergence of scale and its consequences,
how scale was incorporated into the work
of landscape ecologists in different ways,
and how spatial scale was quantified and
analyzed are all addressed by at least two
papers. The concluding parts contain
papers that illustrate how landscape ecology
was applied to different ecological
questions and how it can contribute to
mainstream ecology. This is an excellent
collection of foundation papers and is
suitable as a textbook or reference book.
Beware that the text of some of the papers
is very small. C.R.
Silence of the Songbirds. Bridget Stutchbury.
2007. Walker and Company, New
York, NY. 255 pp. $24.95, hardcover.
ISBN 100802716091. Stutchbury takes
the reader on a series of field trips from
the tropics to the boreal forest, in order to
investigate the sources of the decline in
songbird numbers. She examines threats
to songbirds including deforestation and
fragmentation, sun-grown coffee farms,
pesticides, lights and towers, predators
aided by people, and habitat fragmentation.
Written with personality and a
sense of humor, Stutchbury delivers her
dire forecast in an easy to read style. She
concludes with a list of what we can do
or buy to help the plight of migratory
Gardening with Woodland Plants: A
Comprehensive Guide to Over 2000
Woodland Plants. Karan Junker. 2007.
Timber Press, Inc., Portland, OR. 384 pp.
$39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780881928211.
Gardeners working among the trees will
find this directory valuable. Arranged by
genus, Junker covers a plethora of species
and varieties that will thrive in the
shade. Comments and recommendations
for where to plant and how the plant
may differ from better known species are
abundant. Also included are introductory
remarks about woodland gardening that
discuss woodland structure, seasonal interest,
and evergreens. A chapter on preparing
and maintaining enhanced woodland
areas addresses the canopy, light levels,
soil conditions, weeds, and planting.
Developing new woodland areas considers
the shape and size of woodland beds,
raised beds, rock gardens, the hedgerow,
and the single tree. Although written from
a British perspective, gardeners in the US
will find the beautiful color pictures and
descriptions helpful in spite of the lack of
zone information. Brief listings of where
readers can see and buy woodland plants
in the US and UK are included. C.R.
The Lewis and Clark Journals: An
American Epic of Discovery: The
Abridgment of the Definitive Nebraska
Edition. Gary E. Moulton (Ed.). 2003.
University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln,
NE. 497 pp. $17.95, softcover. ISBN
0803280394. Entries from the journals of
Lewis, Clark, and their comrades form a
chronology of the reflections of the men
of this pioneering expedition. Moulton
supplies a modest amount of notes and
annotations that permit the modern reader
to see the bigger picture and follow the
expedition using the place names of
the present. An extensive introduction
provides history and an overview of the
expedition, and a brief afterword gives a
glimpse of the immediate aftereffects. An
extensive index will help reference passages
by subject. C.R.
The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science
Makes Sense of the World. Peter
Dear. 2006. The University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, IL. 242 pp. $27.50, hardcover.
Beginning with the ancient Greeks,
Dear relates how doing and knowing have
154 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 15, No.1
been combined to form what we know
today as science. The introduction discusses
science as both natural philosophy
and instrumentality. Subsequent chapters
look at the two sides of science through
the perspectives of the times: Galileo to
Newton and the universe, the quest for
classification, the chemical revolution,
the origin of species, the industrial revolution,
and the quantum universe. Many
quotes bring the text to life and will appeal
to a general audience. Dear includes
a bibliographic essay that functions like
an annotated bibliography for readers
who want more information. C.R.
The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-
Plant Interactions. Victor Rico-Gray
and Paulo S. Oliveira. 2007. The University
of Chicago Press, Chicago. IL. 331
pp. $28, softcover. ISBN 0226713489.
The text begins with evolution and history
of ant-plant interactions followed
by chapters that focus on specific modes
of interaction centered mainly in tropical
ecosystems. Antagonistic interactions are
explored in leaf-cutting and seed-harvesting
ants, and mutualistic interactions are
covered with ants as primary and secondary
seed-dispersers. Relationships of
ants with flowers, and interactions both
direct and indirect where antagonism
and mutualism coexist are examined. A
very interesting chapter on ant-fed plants
concludes the modes of interaction. Additional
chapters address canopy-dwelling
ants, plant and insect exudates, spatial
and temporal variation in interactions,
and ant-plant interactions in agriculture.
A final overview chapter describes emerging
topics and those for future research. A
comprehensive literature cited section is
testament to the synthesis provided in this
comprehensive treatment of this diverse
and fascinating subject. C.R.
Invasion Ecology. Julie L. Lockwood,
Martha F. Hoopes, and Michael P.
Marchetti. 2007. Blackwell Publishing,
Malden, MA. 304 pp. $69.95, softcover.
ISBN 1405114189. The authors present
an overview of the process of invasion beginning
with transport vectors and pathways.
Establishment is treated in several
chapters including a chapter describing
spatial and temporal trends in number of
invaders followed by a chapter on propagule
and establishment success followed
by chapters on the role of disturbance,
and the influence of biotic interactions in
establishment success. Spread is treated
next with a chapter on modeling and the
role of ecological processes in the spread
of invaders. Impacts of invaders are addresses
from an ecological viewpoint and
how scientific and human perceptions
influence our view of impacts. A discussion
of the genetic evolution of invaders
is followed by a brief overview of prediction,
risk assessment, and management
of species invasions. Further reading
is suggested for each chapter including
papers that describe further complexities
and companion papers. An extensive
literature cited section is provided. This
text was designed for upper level undergraduates
or graduate students, but will be
appreciated by motivated undergraduates
and those looking for a concise integration
of this fast growing field. C.R.
Bats in Forests: Conservation and
Management. Michael J. Lacki, John P.
Hayes, and Allen Kurta (Eds.). 2007. The
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
MD. 329 pp. $85, hardcover. ISBN
0801884993. This very accessible book
represents a synthesis of the extant literature
on the subject of forest-dwelling bats
in North America. Chapters are authored
and presented as individual review papers.
After an introductory chapter that examines
what biologists know about bats and
what needs further study, specific topics
are addressed, such as roosting in cavities
and under bark of trees, day roosting in
foliage, and foraging and night roosting.
Migration and roosting in autumn, winter,
and spring are also covered. A conservation
biology perspective is presented in
chapters dealing with silviculture and
habitat management, forest management
and its influence on bats, ecological
considerations for landscape-level
management, assessing forest-dwelling
bat populations, and planning for bats
in the industrial forest. This volume will
be valuable for land and forest managers
as well as researchers and students concerned
with the 27 bat species that inhabit
the forests of North America. C.R.
The Sand Wasps: Natural History and
Behavior. Howard E. Evans and Kevin M.
O’Neill. 2007. Harvard University Press,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
MA. 340 pp. $49.95, hardcover. ISBN
0674024625. Taking an unpublished
manuscript left after the first author’s
death, O’Neill, a former student, has written
a number of chapters to make this a
complete work parallel with Evans’ 1966
Comparative Ethology and Evolution of
the Sand Wasps. This work presents information
that has become available since
1966. The introduction provides natural
history information, a short course on
classification, and a primer on the biology
of the subfamily Bembicinae to help the
novice get oriented. The chapters that follow
are organized by tribe. Two chapters
are devoted to the Bembicini, one that
focuses on new world genera and the
other discussing taxa found throughout
the rest of the world. The authors present
the most technical information in a
straightforward and enthusiastic manner,
making this book suitable for anyone with
an interest in this fascinating group of insects
and an essential reference for those
involved in their study and the evolution
of insect behavior. Extensive references
are provided. C.R.
Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones.
Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha, Glauco Machado,
and Bonzalo Giribet (Eds.). 2007.
Harvard University Press, Cambridge,
MA. 597 pp. $125, hardcover. ISBN
0674023437. This synthesis of available
information on Opiliones (also known as
daddy longlegs) will be valuable to those
studying arachnids as well as biologists,
ecologists, and naturalists. After an introductory
chapter on what are harvestmen,
each following chapter addresses a
specific topic. Morphology and functional
anatomy of harvestmen is discussed as
well as phylogeny and biogeography,
taxonomy, paleontology, and cytogenetics.
The chapter on taxonomy is the most
extensive, with a key to the suborders and
subsequent keys to the families. Each
family account includes etymology, a
detailed characterization, distribution,
and a discussion of relationships within
the family. A list of main references is
also given. Individual chapters are also
devoted to ecology, diet and foraging,
natural enemies, defense mechanisms,
and social behavior. Reproduction is
covered as is development and ecophysiology.
A final chapter describing methods
and techniques of study concludes the
text. All references cited are found in one
section followed by separate taxonomic
and subject indices. C.R.
Encyclopedia of Insects. Vincent H.
Resh and Ring T. Cardé (Eds.). 2003.
Academic Press, Boston, MA. 1266 pp.
$104, hardcover. ISBN 0125869908. Two
hundred seventy-one entries by more than
250 authors make up this volume describing
various insect topics from accessory
glands to zygentoma. The authors have
attempted to compile an integrated summary
of current knowledge on a range of
topics and make it accessible to a wide
audience without compromising scientific
content. Each of the 30 orders of insects
is described including such topics as
fossil history, habitats, reproduction and
ecology. The table of contents provides
references to topics found under other
headings, and a brief guide to the encyclopedia
is provided. Each entry features
section headings, diagrams or color photographs,
a list of other relevant topics in
the volume, and a list of further reading.
156 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 15, No.1
An extensive glossary and comprehensive
index will help folks get the most out of
this resource. This reference will be appreciated
by students, teachers, and naturalists.
Mind, Life, and Universe: Conversations
with Great Scientists of Our Time.
Lynn Margulis and Eduardo Punset (Eds.).
2007. Chelsea Green Publishing Co.,
White River Junction, VT. 358 pp. $21.95,
softcover. ISBN 1933392431. A wonderful
collection of interviews with leading
scientists, conducted by Eduardo Punset.
Varied and lively, each scientist discusses
the nature of their work and lines of inquiry.
Provides insight into the humanity
as well as the enormous intelligence of the
featured subjects. Roughly organized by
category, includes short biographies and
recommended readings. S.O’M.
Turtles: An Extraordinary Natural History
245 Million Years in the Making.
Carl J. Franklin. 2007. Voyageur Press, St.
Paul, MN. 160 pp. $35, hardcover. ISBN
0760329818. An attention-grabbing fullcolor
book of turtle natural history and
taxonomy. Includes overview of life history,
physical form, ecology, and evolution.
Discusses the 15 families of turtles on
Earth today, highlighting well-known or
especially interesting species. Designed
to stimulate interest and further reading/
research on turtles. Includes world-wide
species list. Beautiful, full-color photos
throughout. An excellent starter book for
those interested in these animals. S.O’M.
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural
History of Mosses. Robin Wall
Kimmerer. 2003. Oregon State University
Press, Corvallis OR. 176 pp. $17.95,
softcover. ISBN 0870714996. A lovely
collection of personal essays that discuss
various aspects of bryology. Author is a
scientist and brings scientific understanding
to this very personal book. A nice
balance of information and story. Recommended
for readers of nature writing and
natural history. S.O’M.
Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology.
Sarah McFarland Taylor. 2007. Harvard
University Press, Cambridge MA. 363 pp.
$29.95, hardcover. ISBN 0674024400.
An account of the growing movement
of “green sisters,” ecologically minded
Roman Catholic sisters and nuns. Discusses
varied aspects of their life and
work, activism, and theology. Inspiring
and refreshing. A work of first-hand
scholarly research, it is slightly dense
but always readable. Includes extensive
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities
and the Durable Future. Bill
McKibben. 2007. Henry Holt and Co.,
New York, NY. 261 pp. $25, hardcover.
ISBN 0805076263. Looks at the changing
relationship between the concept of
growth and prosperity, and shows how
they are not necessarily inexorably linked
in the modern world any more. Envisions
a new economic model, focused locally
and challenging the traditional model of
“more is better.” Provides wide-ranging
examples from China to Vermont, dealing
with the environment and quality of life.
Very readable, classic McKibben. S.O’M.
A Natural History of Time. Pascal
Richet. 2007. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, IL. 471 pp. $29, hardcover.
ISBN 0226712877. A history of
the development of ideas about time,
specifically related to the age of the Earth.
Documents many of the different ways the
age of the Earth was explained, especially
from a European perspective starting from
ancient Greece and including the longheld
Biblical tradition. Continues into
the atomic age. Somewhat dense, may be
difficult for the casual reader. Those interested
in the history of science and ideas
will find it fascinating. S.O’M.
Wild Orchids of the Northeast. Paul
Martin Brown. 2007. University Press of
Florida, Gainsville, fl. 392 pp. $29.95,
softcover. ISBN 0813030340. This is the
book to have for those interested in wild
orchids of the Northeast. Provides general
orchid familiarity, dichotomous key,
genera and species by species description
including photographs of all known color
varieties. Lists state by state checklist and
conservation status. Ends with description
of several orchid hunting hot spots in the
region, incredibly helpful for those looking
to see orchids in the wild. Comprehensive.
Some technical botanical terms.
Highly recommended for the serious
amateur and botanists. S.O’M.
Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking
Environmental Aesthetics. Timothy
Morton. 2007. Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, MA. 249 pp. $49.95, hardcover.
ISBN 139780674024342. Presents
a philosophical and highly intellectual
argument for changing the way we think
about nature and environmentalism.
Morton proposes that the Romantic ideal
of mans’ place in nature has prevented
modern societies from developing a useful
ecological ethic. He shows how the
literature and art of the Romantic period
still affects our ecological thinking. Ultimately,
he believes the tendency to idealize
nature and put it on a pedestal is akin
to environmental patriarchy, and he asks
that we “imagine ecology without nature.”
This small book covers a wide range of
ground, touching upon the ecological and
philosophical writings of a great many
thinkers. Thought provoking and often abstract,
this is a difficult book to assimilate,
but it is a necessary and timely critique of
ecological thinking. S.E.
Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond. Eduardo
Kac (Ed.). 2007. MIT Press, Cambridge,
MA. 420 pp. $34.95, hardcover.
ISBN 100262112930. This unusual book
shows how living organisms can be used
as forms of artistic expression, rather than
as subjects. Biotechnology has enabled
a new form of “bio art”, with the most
celebrated example being Kac’s GFP
Bunny, a fluorescent green rabbit created
by the insertion of jellyfish genes into the
genome of an albino rabbit. The 33 contributors
to this book include prominent
scholars, artists, and critics, who discuss
the culture and aesthetics of biotechnology,
ethical considerations of bio art,
and biology in art history. Several bio art
works are presented, including butterflies
with modified wing patterns, steak grown
from frog muscle stretched over biopolymers,
and a sculpture of a lollipop made of
biopolymers seeded with eel anal tissue.
Illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
Truly a one-of-a-kind book. S.E.
Foraging: Behavior and Ecology. David
W. Stephen, Joel S. Brown, and Ronald C.
Ydenberg (Eds.). 2007. The University
of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 608 pp.
$45, softcover. ISBN 139780226772639.
Foraging is a fundamental life process,
the means by which both herbivores and
carnivores find food. Foraging behavior
has been extensively observed in the
field and modeled in the lab. This text is
the first comprehensive review of foraging
in over twenty years. The fourteen
essays included here were written by
experts from throughout the field, and
include discussions on the mechanics of
foraging, modern theoretical models of
foraging behavior, and foraging ecology.
Examples are included from a diversity
of insects, birds, and mammals. Contains
many charts and diagrams, and an extensive
bibliography. A valuable reference
for ecologists and biologists, and a useful
text for students. S.E.
Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy,
G.M. = Glen Mittelhauser, S.O’M. = Sarah
O'Malley, C.R. = Cathy Rees.
158 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 15, No.1
In Table 1 on page 536 of the paper entitled “An Evaluation of the Ichthyofauna
of the Bronx River, a Resilient Urban Waterway” by Joseph W. Rachlin, Barbara
E. Warkentine, and Antonios Pappantoniou in the last issue of the Northeastern
Naturalist (Volume 14, Number 4), the wrong common name for Perca flavescens
(Mitchill) had been mistakenly inserted. The correct name is Yellow Perch. The online
version of the article in the BioOne.org database has been corrected.
On pages 534–535 of the same paper, the word “cord” was mistakenly inserted
in a sentence in place of the word “cod” in describing a trawl net used in the study.
The correct version of the sentence is: “Sampling in the Federal Chan nel was accomplished
using a benthic shrimp trawl, 3.3 m wide with 3.8-cm stretch mesh #9
nylon body and 3.3-cm stretch mesh #15 nylon cod end (Nylon Net Co., Memphis,
TN), operated from the stern deck of a 14.02-m buoy-tender chartered from SUNY
Maritime College, Bronx, NY.”