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Book Reviews of the Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 15, Number 1, 2008

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 15, Issue 1 (2008): 152–158

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152 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 15, No.1 152 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. C.R. 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 Book Reviews 2008 153 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 songbirds. C.R. 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 Book Reviews 2008 155 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. C.R. 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 notes. S.O’M. 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 Reviews 2008 157 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 Errata 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.”