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Noteworthy Books Received by the Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 20, Number 2, 2013

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 20, Issue 2 (2013): 375–382

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2013 Noteworthy Books 375 Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine. Robert L. Stepehenson, John H. Annala, Jeffrey A. Runge, and Madeline Hall- Arber (Eds.). 2012. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 415 pp. $79.00, softcover. ISBN 9781934874301. The Gulf of Maine (GOM) is arguably one of the best studied marine ecosystems in the world. Interest in its physical environment, fisheries, and Canada/USA boundary have resulted in considerable research attention for more than a century. The GOM is also highly managed by two nations with a commitment to implementing an ecosystem approach to management. The papers in this book review the management and policy tools and approaches required to implement integrated policy and management in the GOM; synthesize the current ecological and oceanographic understanding of the GOM, and the social, economic, and cultural interactions within the Gulf; assess anthropogenic and external influences on the Gulf ecosystem; and examine the science required to observe and predict changes in the GOM ecosystem, along with strategies to implement an ecosystem approach to management. Small Impoundment Management in North America. J. Wesley Neal and David W. Willis (Eds.). 2012. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 451 pp. $79.00, hardcover. ISBN 9781934874349. This book is an in-depth overview of biota, habitat, and human management in small water bodies up to approximately 40 ha in surface area. Authors were selected to cover the wide geographic diversity of ponds and pond management throughout North America. The first section (Introduction and History) defines small impoundments, provides a concise history of pond management, overviews pond resources in the USA and world, and discusses the importance of small impoundments. Section Two (Pond Environment) addresses proper construction considerations, explores the physical and chemical characteristics of these waters, discusses productivity, and examines methods to manipulate environmental conditions in small waters. Section Three (Fish Management) describes current stocking practices and species selection, addresses the importance of proper harvest and assessment, and explores mechanisms involved in population dynamics and the occurrence of crowded predator or prey populations. Section Four (Problem Troubleshooting) 375 addresses problems that can arise in small impoundments and provides solutions. Section Five (Opportunities) provides a platform for topics that previously had received limited treatment in the educational literature. Thorough discussions of fee fishing and community fishing opportunities for small impoundments are provided, as is an overview of careers in private-sector pond management and extension/ outreach. Finally, the technical aspects of managing small impoundments for wildlife are described in detail. A primary use for this book will be university classes on pond or small impoundment management for advanced undergraduate or graduate students. Practicing fisheries professionals should also find substantial value in the depth of information provided by the book. Finally, private pond owners will find the book to be useful as they seek to learn more about ponds and pond management. Yellowstone’s Wildlife in Transition. P.J. White, Robert A. Garrott, and Glenn E. Plumb (Eds.). 2013. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 368 pp. $45.00, softcover. ISBN 9780674073180. The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is a symbol of nature’s enduring majesty and the paradigm of protected areas across the globe. But Yellowstone is constantly changing. How we understand and respond to events that are putting species under stress, say the authors of Yellowstone’s Wildlife in Transition, will determine the future of ecosystems that were millions of years in the making. This is the most comprehensive survey of research on North America’s flagship national park available today. Marshaling the expertise of over thirty contributors, Yellowstone’s Wildlife in Transition examines the diverse changes to the Park’s ecology in recent decades. Since its creation in the 1870s, the priorities governing Yellowstone have evolved, from intensive management designed to protect and propagate depleted large-bodied mammals to an approach focused on restoration and preservation of ecological processes. Recognizing the importance of natural occurrences such as fires and predation, this more ecologically informed oversight has achieved notable successes, including the recovery of threatened native species of wolves, bald eagles, and grizzly bears. Nevertheless, these experts detect worrying signs of a system under strain. They identify three overriding stressors: Noteworthy Books Received by the Northeastern Naturalist, Issue 20/2, 2012 376 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 20, No. 2 invasive species, private-sector development of unprotected lands, and a warming climate. Their concluding recommendations will shape the twenty-first-century discussion over how to confront these challenges, not only in American parks but for conservation areas worldwide. Highly readable and fully illustrated, Yellowstone’s Wildlife in Transition will be welcomed by ecologists and nature enthusiasts alike. Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict, and Conservation. Stanley D. Gehrt, Seth P.D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher (Eds.). 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 344 pp. $75.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780801893896. With over half of the world’s human population now living in cities, human-carnivore interaction in urban areas is a growing area of concern and research for wildlife managers, conservationists, urban planners, and the public at large. This volume brings together leading international carnivore researchers to explore the unique biological and ecological issues associated with mammalian carnivores in urban landscapes. Carnivores in urban areas are fascinating from an ecological standpoint. They elicit great passions—positive and negative— among humans and present difficult challenges for wildlife conservationists and managers. The first section of the book discusses the field of urban ecology and the many potential roles of carnivores in urban ecosystems, details the general behavior and ecology of this group of mammals, and addresses the human side of potential conflicts between people and carnivores in cities. The second section provides species accounts of the most common urban carnivores, including Raccoons, Coyotes, foxes, skunks, and Mountain Lions. A separate chapter examines the very specialized place of domesticated cats and dogs. The last section compares how various carnivore species fare in cities, looks at the utility of existing conservation and conflict management efforts, and suggests directions for further research and future management initiatives. This thorough examination of the conflicts and complications surrounding urban wildlife is the first to focus specifically on carnivores. It includes an extensive bibliography and is an essential reference for wildlife biologists, mammalogists, and urban planners. The Biology of Small Mammals. Joseph F. Merrit. 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 336 pp. $60.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780801879500. The Biology of Small Mammals is the first exploration of the lives of small mammals undertaken in decades. Mammalogist Joseph F. Merritt offers an engaging, in-depth discussion about a diverse array of small mammals, from the rare Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat of Southeast Asia to the bizarre Aye-aye of Madagascar to the familiar Woodchuck of North America. Small mammals include those mammals weighing under five kilograms (approximately eleven pounds). Merritt introduces the various species that fall under this heading, then follows with chapters that cover such topics as behavior, modes of feeding, locomotion, habitat use, reproduction, and coping with heat loss. Animals of this size face different physiological and ecological challenges than larger mammals. Merritt describes in rich detail how mammals across the globe have adapted to compensate for their small stature, showing how they contribute to and survive in diverse environments in many fascinating ways. For example, Arctic Foxes, weighing just 3 to 4.3 kilograms, are champion survivors in the cold. They cope with their harsh environs by decreasing activity, seeking shelter in temporary dens and snow burrows, growing a lush winter fur, and undergoing complex physiological changes to insulate themselves from chilling temperatures. Beautifully illustrated throughout, The Biology of Small Mammals provides a valuable and updated reference on nature’s more diminutive creatures. Vertebrate Biology, Second Edition. Donald W. Linzey. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 608 pp. $110.00, hardcover. ISBN 9781421400402. Long recognized as the most readable textbook on vertebrate biology, this comprehensive volume covers subjects ranging from the biology of the smallest shrew to the migration of the largest whales. Thoroughly updated with the latest research, this new edition discusses taxa and topics such as systematics and evolution, zoogeography, ecology, morphology, and reproduction, and early chordates. Complete with appendixes and glossary, Vertebrate Biology is the ideal text for courses in zoology, vertebrate biology, vertebrate natural history, and general biology. Donald W. Linzey carefully builds theme upon theme, concept upon concept, as he walks students through a plethora of topics on the vertebrate life form. Arranged logically to follow the typical course format, Vertebrate Biology leaves students with a full understanding of the unique structure, 2013 Noteworthy Books 377 function, and living patterns of the subphylum that includes our own species. Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay. Edward O. Murdy and John A. Musick. 2013. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 360 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9781421407685. The only comprehensive field guide to the Chesapeake’s fishes, this book is an indispensable resource for both anglers and students of the Bay. Vivid illustrations by Val Kells complement the expertise of researchers Edward O. Murdy and John A. Musick. They describe fishes that inhabit waters ranging from low-salinity estuaries to the point where the Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Formatted as a compact field guide for students, scientists, researchers, and fishers, Field Guide to Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay should be a standard passenger on any boat that plies the Chesapeake’s waters. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide. James G. Sanderson and Patrick Watson. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 184 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780801898853. Did you know that most wild cat species are small and that lions, tigers, and other large cats are the exception? That adult Bobcats, Clouded Leopards, and other small wild cats are completely asocial? And that they fight only as a last resort? This entertaining and informative book reveals these and hundreds of other facts about the behavior, biology, and conservation of the more than 30 small wild cat species. From Bobcats to Servals, small cats are spread across the globe. They range in size from the Rusty-spotted Cat and African Blackfooted Cat, each of which weighs around 5 pounds when fully grown, to the Eurasian Lynx, which can reach an adult weight of 60 pounds. These felids are elusive, some are nocturnal, others are arboreal, and all are rare and secretive, making them especially difficult to study. James G. Sanderson, the world’s leading field expert on small wild cats, and naturalist and wildlife artist Patrick Watson provide informative and entertaining answers to common and unexpected questions about these animals. The authors explain why some small cats live on the ground while others inhabit trees, discuss the form and function of their coat types and colors, offer scientifically sound information on human-small wild cat interactions, and even review the role that small wild cats have played in literature, religion, and mythology. The world of cats is as fascinating as it is diverse. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide shows just how important and interesting the littlest of the nondomesticated feline family are. Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats, Second Edition. 2009. Thomas H. Kunz and Stuart Parsons (Eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 920 pp. $105.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780801891472. First published in 1988, Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats is widely acknowledged as the primary reference for both amateur and professional bat researchers. Bats are the second-most diverse group of mammals on the earth. They live on every continent except Antarctica, ranging from deserts to tropical forests to mountains, and their activities have a profound effect on the ecosystems in which they live. Despite their ubiquity and importance, bats are challenging to study. This volume provides researchers, conservationists, and consultants with the ecological background and specific information essential for studying bats in the wild and in captivity. Chapters detail many of the newest and most commonly used field and laboratory techniques needed to advance the study of bats, describe how these methods are applied to the study of the ecology and behavior of bats, and offer advice on how to interpret the results of research. The book includes fortythree chapters, fourteen of which are new to the second edition, with information on molecular ecology and evolution, bioacoustics, chemical communication, flight dynamics, population models, and methods for assessing postnatal growth and development. Fully illustrated and featuring contributions from the world’s leading experts in bat biology, this reference contains everything bat researchers and natural resource managers need to know for the study and conservation of this wide-ranging, ecologically vital, and diverse taxon. Mira Lloyd Dock and the Progressive Era Conservation Movement. Susan Rimby. 2012. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA. 224 pp. $64.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780271056241. For her time, Mira Lloyd Dock was an exceptional woman: a university-trained botanist, lecturer, women’s club leader, activist in the City Beautiful movement, and public official—the first woman to be appointed to Pennsylvania’s state government. 378 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 20, No. 2 In her twelve years on the Pennsylvania Forest Commission, she allied with the likes of J.T. Rothrock, Gifford Pinchot, and Dietrich Brandis to help bring about a new era in American forestry. She was also an integral force in founding and fostering the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy in Mont Alto, which produced generations of Pennsylvania foresters before becoming Penn State’s Mont Alto campus. Though much has been written about her male counterparts, Mira Lloyd Dock and the Progressive Era Conservation Movement is the first book dedicated to Mira Lloyd Dock and her work. Susan Rimby weaves these layers of Dock’s story together with the greater historical context of the era to create a vivid and accessible picture of Progressive Era conservation in the eastern United States and Dock’s important role and legacy in that movement. The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods. Andrew M. Barton with Alan S. White and Charles V. Cogbill. 2012. University of New Hampshire Press, Durham, NH. 304 pp. $19.47, softcover. ISBN 9781584658320. The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods is both a fascinating introduction to the forests of Maine and a detailed but accessible narrative of the dynamism of these ecosystems. This is natural history with a long view, starting with an overview of the state’s geological history, the reemergence of the forest after glacial retreat, and the surprising changes right up to European arrival. The authors create a vivid picture of Maine forests just before the impact of Euro-Americans and trace the profound transformations since settlement. Ambitious in its geographic range, this book explores how and why Maine forests differ across the state, from the top of Mount Katahdin to the coast. Through groundbreaking research and engaging narratives, the authors assess key ecological forces such as climate change, insects and disease, nonnative organisms, natural disturbance, and changing land use to create a dramatic portrait of Maine forests—past, present, and future. This book both synthesizes the latest scientific discoveries regarding the changing forest and relates the findings to an educated lay and academic audience. Travel Wild Wisconsin. Candice Gaukel Andrews. 2013. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. 260 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780299291648. Have you ever heard a wolf howl in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, watched thousands of ancient sturgeon roil the waters of one of the largest inland lakes in the United States, or tagged a monarch butterfly before it begins one of the world’s great migrations to its winter habitat in Mexico? Travel Wild Wisconsin is your seasonal guide to genuine wildlife encounters with an amazing array of birds, mammals, fish, and insects in Wisconsin’s most beautiful natural settings: state wildlife areas, rivers, lakes, flowages, and preserves as well as national wildlife refuges and forests. Wisconsin native Candice Gaukel Andrews shares natural history and lore, accounts of her own experiences with Wisconsin wildlife, and insights from biologists, environmental educators, and citizen scientists, so that you can seek a wildlife encounter of your own. So come spy on the spring courtship dance of the Greater Prairie Chicken, search for elusive and elegant White-tailed Deer in summer, touch a tiny Saw-whet Owl on one special day in autumn, and thrill to the sound of thousands of Tundra Swans as they migrate through the Mississippi Flyway just before the first snow falls. The Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science. Akiko Busch. 2013. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 256 pp. $25.00 Hardcover. ISBN 9780300178791. A search for a radio-tagged Indiana Bat roosting in the woods behind her house in New York’s Hudson Valley led Akiko Busch to assorted other encounters with the natural world—local ecological monitoring projects, community-organized cleanup efforts, and data-driven citizen science research. Whether it is pulling up Water Chestnuts in the Hudson River, measuring beds of submerged aquatic vegetation, or searching out vernal pools, all are efforts that illuminate the role of ordinary citizens as stewards of place. In this elegantly written book, Busch highlights factors that distinguish twenty-first-century citizen scientists from traditional amateur naturalists: a greater sense of urgency, helpful new technologies, and the expanded possibilities of crowdsourcing. The observations here look both to precisely recorded data sheets and to the impressionistic marginalia, scribbled asides, and side roads that often attend such unpredictable outings. While not a primer on the prescribed protocols of citizen science, the book combines vivid natural history, a deep sense of place, and reflection about our changing world. Musing on the expanding potential of citizen science, the author celebrates today’s renewed volunteerism 2013 Noteworthy Books 379 and the opportunities it offers for regaining a deep sense of connection to place. A Natural History of the Central Appalachians. Steven L. Stephenson. 2013. West Virginia University Press, Morgantown, WV. 304 pp. $29.99, softcover. ISBN 9781933202686. Central Appalachia is the system of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain found in western and southwestern Virginia, eastern and central West Virginia, western Maryland, and a portion of south central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Through its concise and accessible approach, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America. With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians. Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom. Daphne J. Fairbairn. 2013. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 312 pp. $27.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780691141961. While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can't compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male Garden Spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae—even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male Blanket Octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. From the fields of Spain to the deep oceans, evolutionary biologist Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristic—in size, behavior, ecology, and life history—that exist in these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn describes how male Great Bustards aggressively compete to display their gorgeous plumage and large physiques to watching, choosey females. She investigates why female Elephant Seals voluntarily live in harems where they are harassed constantly by eager males. And she reveals why dwarf male Giant Seadevils parasitically fuse to their giant female partners for life. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world. Looking at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, Odd Couples sheds astonishing light on what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom. The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori, and Brian Sullivan. 2013. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 304 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780691157405. Part of the revolutionary Crossley ID Guide series, this is the first raptor guide with lifelike scenes composed from multiple photographs—scenes that allow you to identify raptors just as the experts do. Experienced birders use the most easily observed and consistent characteristic—size, shape, behavior, probability, and general color patterns. The book’s 101 scenes—including thirty-five double- page layouts—provide a complete picture of how these features are all related. Even the effects of lighting and other real-world conditions are illustrated and explained. Detailed and succinct accounts from two of North America’s foremost raptor experts, Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan, stress the key identification features. This complete picture allows everyone from beginner to expert to understand and enjoy what he or she sees in the field. The mystique of bird identification is eliminated, allowing even novice birders to identify raptors quickly and simply. Comprehensive and authoritative, the book covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species (all species except owls). Each species is featured in stunning color plates that show males and females, in a full spectrum of ages and color variants, depicted near and far, in flight and at rest, and from multiple angles, all caught in their typical habitats. There are also comparative, multispecies scenes and mystery photographs that allow readers to test their identification skills, along with answers and full explanations in the back of the book. In 380 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 20, No. 2 addition, the book features an introduction, and thirty-four color maps accompany the plates. Whether you are a novice or an expert, this oneof- a-kind guide will show you an entirely new way to look at these spectacular birds. The Kingdom of Fungi. Jens H. Petersen. 2013. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 256 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780691157542. The fungi realm has been called the “hidden kingdom”, a mysterious world populated by microscopic spores, gigantic mushrooms and toadstools, and a host of other multicellular organisms ranging widely in color, size, and shape. The Kingdom of Fungi provides an intimate look at the world’s astonishing variety of fungi species, from cup fungi and lichens to truffles and tooth fungi, clubs and corals, and jelly fungi and puffballs. This beautifully illustrated book features more than 800 stunning color photographs as well as a concise text that describes the biology and ecology of fungi, fungal morphology, where fungi grow, and human interactions with and uses of fungi. The Kingdom of Fungi is a feast for the senses, and the ideal reference for naturalists, researchers, and anyone interested in fungi. The World’s Rarest Birds. Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash, and Robert Still. 2013. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 360 pp. $45.00, hardcover. ISBN 780691155968. This beautifully illustrated book vividly depicts the most threatened birds on Earth. It provides up-to-date information from BirdLife International on the threats each species faces, and the measures being taken to save them. Today, 590 bird species are classified as endangered or critically endangered, or now only exist in captivity. This landmark publication features stunning photographs of 515 species—including the results of a prestigious international photographic competition organized specifically for this book. This is the first time that images of many of these birds have been published. It also showcases meticulously accurate illustrations by acclaimed wildlife artist Tomasz Cofta for the 75 species of which no photographs are known to exist. The World’s Rarest Birds has introductory chapters that explain the threats birds face in a rapidly changing world, how their threat status is assessed, and how this information is used to set conservation priorities. The book is divided into seven regional sections—Europe and the Middle East; Africa and Madagascar; Asia; Australasia; Oceanic Islands; North America, Central America, and the Caribbean; and South America. Each section highlights particular conservation challenges and threatened bird hotspots, and includes a comprehensive illustrated directory of the most endangered birds, giving a concise description of their distribution, status, population, key threats, and conservation needs. This one-of-a-kind book also covers the 60 data deficient species. QR codes are included for every species, linked directly to the relevant species factsheet on BirdLife International’s website, where detailed, up-to-date information is freely available. Swimming in Circles: Aquaculture and the End of Wild Oceans. Paul Molyneaux. 2007. Perseus Books Group, New York, NY. 344 pp. $15.95, softcover. ISBN 9781560257561. Expanding on the author’s year-long study of the shrimp and salmon aquaculture industries as an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow, the book lays out the rationale behind aquaculture development: increasing the world food supply and creating jobs in areas hard hit by declining landings in wild fisheries. However, reality is something else entirely: ravaged ecosystems and bankrupted local economies. The author expands on his existing case studies, near his homes in eastern Maine, and Sonora, Mexico, and links them to events in other parts of the world. The author’s 30 years experience in fisheries and aquaculture qualifies him to weigh the rhetoric and sift out the truth of this story. Ecological Ethics: An Introduction. Patrick Curry. 2011. Polity Press, Malden, MA. 280 pp. $74.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780745651255. In this thoroughly revised and updated second edition of the highly successful Ecological Ethics, Patrick Curry shows that a new and truly ecological ethic is both possible and urgently needed. With this distinctive proposition in mind, Curry introduces and discusses all the major concepts needed to understand the full range of ecological ethics. He discusses light green or anthropocentric ethics with the examples of stewardship, lifeboat ethics, and social ecology; the mid-green or intermediate ethics of animal liberation/rights; and dark or deep green ecocentric ethics. Particular attention is given to the Land Ethic, the Gaia Hypothesis, and Deep Ecology and its offshoots: Deep Green Theory, Left Biocentrism, and the Earth Manifesto. Ecofeminism is also considered, and attention is 2013 Noteworthy Books 381 paid to the close relationship between ecocentrism and virtue ethics. Other chapters discuss green ethics as post-secular, moral pluralism and pragmatism, green citizenship, and human population in the light of ecological ethics. In this new edition, all these have been updated and joined by discussions of climate change, sustainable economies, education, and food from an ecocentric perspective. This comprehensive and wide-ranging textbook offers a radical but critical introduction to the subject which puts ecocentrism and the critique of anthropocentrism back at the top of the ethical, intellectual, and political agenda. It will be of great interest to students and activists, and to a wider public. Essential Naturalist: Timeless Readings in Natural History. Michael H. Graham, Joan Parker, and Paul K. Dayton (Eds.). 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 552 pp. $39.00, softcover. ISBN 9780226305707. Like nearly every area of scholarly inquiry today, the biological sciences are broken into increasingly narrow fields and subfields, its practitioners divided into ecologists, evolutionary biologists, taxonomists, paleontologists, and much more. But all these splintered pieces have their origins in the larger field of natural history—and in this era where climate change and relentless population growth are irrevocably altering the world around us, perhaps it’s time to step back and take a new, fresh look at the larger picture. The Essential Naturalist offers exactly that: a wide-ranging, eclectic collection of writings from more than eight centuries of observations of the natural world, from Leeuwenhoek to E.O. Wilson, from von Humboldt to Rachel Carson. Featuring commentaries by practicing scientists that offer personal accounts of the importance of the long tradition of natural history writing to their current research, the volume serves simultaneously as an overview of the field’s long history and as an inspirational starting point for new explorations, for trained scientists and amateur enthusiasts alike. Population Fluctuations in Rodents. Charles J. Krebs. 2013. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 320 pp. $55.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226010359. How did rodent outbreaks in Germany help to end World War I? What caused the destructive outbreak of rodents in Oregon and California in the late 1950s, the large population outbreak of lemmings in Scandinavia in 2010, and the great abundance of field mice in Scotland in the spring of 2011? Population fluctuations, or outbreaks, of rodents constitute one of the classic problems of animal ecology, and in Population Fluctuations in Rodents, Charles J. Krebs sifts through the last eighty years of research to draw out exactly what we know about rodent outbreaks and what should be the agenda for future research. Krebs has synthesized the research in this area, focusing mainly on the voles and lemmings of the Northern Hemisphere—his primary area of expertise—but also referring to the literature on rats and mice. He covers the patterns of changes in reproduction and mortality and the mechanisms that cause these changes—including predation, disease, food shortage, and social behavior—and discusses how landscapes can affect population changes, methodically presenting the hypotheses related to each topic before determining whether or not the data supports them. He ends on an expansive note, by turning his gaze outward and discussing how the research on rodent populations can apply to other terrestrial mammals. Geared toward advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and practicing ecologists interested in rodent population studies, this book will also appeal to researchers seeking to manage rodent populations and to understand outbreaks in both natural and urban settings—or, conversely, to protect endangered species. Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean. Lisa-ann Gershwin. 2013. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 456 pp. $27.50, hardcover. ISBN 9780226020105. Our oceans are becoming increasingly inhospitable to life—growing toxicity and rising temperatures coupled with overfishing have led many marine species to the brink of collapse. And yet there is one creature that is thriving in this seasick environment: the beautiful, dangerous, and now incredibly numerous jellyfish. As foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin describes in Stung!, the jellyfish population bloom is highly indicative of the tragic state of the world’s ocean waters, while also revealing the incredible tenacity of these remarkable creatures. Recent documentaries about swarms of giant jellyfish invading Japanese fishing grounds and summertime headlines about armadas of stinging jellyfish in the Mediterranean and Chesapeake are only the beginning—jellyfish are truly taking over the oceans. Despite their often dazzling appearance, jellyfish are simple creatures with simple needs: namely, fewer predators and 382 Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 20, No. 2 competitors, warmer waters to encourage rapid growth, and more places for their larvae to settle and grow. In general, oceans that are less favorable to fish are more favorable to jellyfish, and these are the very conditions that we are creating through mechanized trawling, habitat degradation, coastal construction, pollution, and climate change. Despite their role as harbingers of marine destruction, jellyfish are truly enthralling creatures in their own right, and in Stung!, Gershwin tells stories of jellyfish both attractive and deadly while illuminating many interesting and unusual facts about their behaviors and environmental adaptations. She takes readers back to the Proterozoic era, when jellyfish were the top predator in the marine ecosystem—at a time when there were no fish, no mammals, and no turtles—and she explores the role jellies have as middlemen of destruction, moving swiftly into vulnerable ecosystems. The story of the jellyfish, as Gershwin makes clear, is also the story of the world’s oceans, and Stung! provides a unique and urgent look at their inseparable histories—and future. Inland Fishes of Massachusetts. Karsten E. Hartel, David B. Halliwell, and Alan E. Launer. 2002. Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln, MA. 328 pp. Hardcover. ISBN 9780932691286. This classic reference on the fish species of Massachusetts is now freely available online at http://www.biodiversitylibrary. org/item/124490. Starting off with an overview on ichthyology and aquatic habitats in Massachusetts, the heart of this volume are the identification keys and species accounts for all of the fishes found in the inland waters of the state. Anyone with an interest in fish, from the professional freshwater biologist to the avid angler, who is keen on learning more about the distribution and identification of the fish species will find this book both interesting and informative. The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural history of Robinson Forest and the Fight for its Future. Erik Reece and James J. Krupa. 2013. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 184 pp. $24.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780820341231. Robinson Forest in eastern Kentucky is one of our most important natural landscapes—and one of the most threatened. Covering fourteen thou - sand acres of some of the most diverse forest region in temperate North America, it is a haven of biological richness within an ever-expanding desert created by mountaintop removal mining. Written by two people with deep knowledge of Robinson Forest, The Embattled Wilderness engagingly portrays this singular place as it persuasively appeals for its protection. The land comprising Robinson Forest was given to the University of Kentucky in 1923 after it had been clear-cut of old-growth timber. Over decades, the forest has regrown, and its remarkable ecosystem has supported both teaching and research. But in the recent past, as tuition has risen and state support has faltered, the university has considered selling logging and mining rights to parcels of the forest, leading to a student-led protest movement and a variety of other responses. In The Embattled Wilderness, Erik Reece, an environmental writer, and James J. Krupa, a naturalist and evolutionary biologist, alternate chapters on the cultural and natural history of the place. While Reece outlines the threats to the forest and leads us to new ways of thinking about its value, Krupa assembles an engaging record of the woodrats and darters, lichens and maples, centipedes and salamanders that make up the forest’s ecosystem. It is a readable yet rigorous, passionate yet reasoned summation of what can be found, or lost, in Robinson Forest and other irreplaceable places. Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species. Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney. 2010. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 582 pp. $39.95, softcover. ISBN 9780811736244. The first-ever reference to the sign left by insects and other North American invertebrates includes descriptions and almost 1000 color photos of tracks, egg cases, nests, feeding signs, galls, webs, burrows, and signs of predation. Identification is made to the family level, sometimes to the genus or species. It's an invaluable guide for wildlife professionals, naturalists, students, and insect specialists. The Northeastern Naturalist welcomes submissions of review copies of books that publishers or authors would like to recommend to the journal’s readership and are relevant to the journal’s mission of publishing information about the natural history of the northeastern US. Accompanying short, descriptive summaries of the text are also welcome.