Eagle Hill Masthead



Southeastern Naturalist
    SENA Home
    Range and Scope
    Board of Editors
    Staff
    Editorial Workflow
    Publication Charges
    Subscriptions

Other EH Journals
    Northeastern Naturalist
    Caribbean Naturalist
    Neotropical Naturalist
    Urban Naturalist
    Eastern Paleontologist
    Journal of the North Atlantic
    Eastern Biologist

EH Natural History Home

  Help

About Southeastern Naturalist

 

Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 10, Number 3, 2011

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 10, Issue 3 (2011): 575–578

Full-text pdf (Accessible only to subscribers.To subscribe click here.)

 

Site by Bennett Web & Design Co.
2011 Noteworthy Books 575 The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival. Stephen R. Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka. 2010. Island Press, Washington, DC. 215 pp. $26.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781597264358. Anyone who has ever stood on the shores of Monterey Bay, watching the rolling ocean waves and frolicking otters, knows it is a unique place. But even residents on this idyllic California coast may not realize its full history. Monterey began as a natural paradise, but became the poster child for industrial devastation in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, and is now one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world. It is a remarkable story of life, death, and revival—told here for the first time in all its stunning color and bleak grays. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay begins in the eighteenth century when Spanish and French explorers encountered a rocky shoreline brimming with life—raucous sea birds, abundant Sea Otters, barking Sea Lions, Halibut the size of wagon wheels, and waters thick with whales. A century and a half later, many of the sea creatures had disappeared, replaced by sardine canneries that sickened residents with their stench, but kept the money flowing. When the fish ran out and the climate turned, the factories emptied and the community crumbled. But today, both Monterey’s economy and wildlife are resplendent. How did it happen? The answer is deceptively simple: through the extraordinary acts of ordinary people. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is the biography of a place, but also of the residents who reclaimed it. Monterey is thriving because of an eccentric mayor who wasn’t afraid to use pistols, axes, or the force of law to protect her coasts. It is because of fishermen who love their livelihood, scientists who are fascinated by the sea’s mysteries, and philanthropists and community leaders willing to invest in a world-class aquarium. The shores of Monterey Bay revived because of human passion—passion that enlivens every page of this hopeful book. Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year. Robert Michael Pyle. 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA. 576 pp. $27, hardcover. ISBN 9780618945399. Part road-trip tale, part travelogue of lost and found landscapes, all good-natured natural history, Mariposa Road tracks Bob Pyle’s journey across the United 575 States as he races against the calendar in his search for as many of the 800 American butterflies as he can find. Like Pyle’s classic Chasing Monarchs, Mariposa Road recounts his adventures, high and low, in tracking down butterflies in his own low-tech, individual way. Accompanied by Marsha (his cottonwood-limb butterfly net), Powdermilk (his 1982 Honda Civic with 345,000 miles on the odometer), and the small Leitz binoculars he has carried for more than thirty years, Bob ventured out in a series of remarkable trips from his Northwest home. From the California coastline in company with overwintering monarchs to the far northern tundra in pursuit of mysterious sulphurs and arctics; from the zebras and daggerwings of the Everglades to the leafwings, bluewings, and border rarities of the lower Rio Grande; from Graceland to ranchland and Kauai to Key West, these intimate encounters with the land, its people, and its fading fauna are wholly original. At turns whimsical, witty, informative, and inspirational, Mariposa Road is an extraordinary journey of discovery that leads the reader ever farther into butterfly country and deeper into the heart of the naturalist. Saving Sea Turtles: Extraordinary Stories from the Battle Against Extinction. James R. Spotila. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 240 pp. $24.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780801899072. In April 2007, eleven Leatherback Turtles captured the imagination of the public worldwide as they “raced” from Costa Rica toward the Galápagos Islands. Known as the Great Turtle Race, this event tracked these critically endangered sea turtles, drawing attention to their fragile status and generating data on the turtles vital to efforts to study and protect them. But the Great Turtle Race is just one of many tools marine conservationists use to inform people about the status, biology, and lives of the seven sea turtle species. Due to human actions, once-plentiful sea turtle population levels plummeted throughout much of the twentieth century, stabilizing somewhat only after Archie Carr and Jacques Cousteau popularized their plight. With Saving Sea Turtles, award-winning author James R. Spotila picks up where Carr and Cousteau left off, going inside the modernday conservation movement to tell the tales of today’s sea turtle conservationists. He provides Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 10/3, 2011 576 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 10, No. 3 a complete overview of sea turtle biology and life cycles, discusses the human and natural world threats they face, and examines the new methods and technologies humans are using to save them. Throughout, Spotila dots the narrative with stories of real-life heroes who risk life and limb to understand, track, and conserve sea turtles across the globe. Spotila has been at the forefront of sea turtle research and conservation for decades. His inspirational story of dedicated individuals, creative endeavors, and adventure reveals what is being done and what else we must do in order to ensure that these fascinating animals continue swimming in the oceans. Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide. Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 192 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780801899362. Frogs are amazingly diverse—ranging from the massive Goliath Frog, which weighs several pounds, to the recently discovered Gold Frog, which measures a mere three-eighths of an inch when fully grown—and have inhabited the earth for more than 200 million years. Today, however, these amphibians face more challenges than any other vertebrate group. In this fun and informative book, herpetologists Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons answer common and not-so-common questions people may have about these fascinating animals. Dorcas and Gibbons discuss how frogs evolved, which species currently exist in the world, and why some have recently gone extinct. They reveal what frogs eat and what eats them, their role in cultures across the globe, why many populations are declining and what we can do to reverse this dangerous trend, why there are deformed frogs, and much more. They answer expected questions such as “What is the difference between a frog and a toad?” and “Why do some people lick toads?” and unexpected ones such as “Why do some frogs lay their eggs in the leaves of trees?” and “Do frogs feel pain?” The authors’ easy-to-understand yet thorough explanations provide insight into the amazing biology of this amphibian group. In addressing conservation questions, Dorcas and Gibbons highlight the frightening implications of the current worldwide amphibian crisis, which many scientists predict will bring extinction rates experienced by frog species to levels not seen in any vertebrate animal group in millions of years. Packed with facts and featuring two color galleries and 70 black-and-white photographs, Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide is sure to address the questions on the minds of curious naturalists. The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide. George R. Angehr and Robert Dean. 2010. Cornell University Press, Baltimore, MD. 392 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN 9780801476747. The isthmus of Panama, where North and South America meet, hosts more bird species than all of North America. More accessible than ever to birdwatchers and other ecotourists, the country has become a premier neotropical birding and nature tourism destination in recent years. The Birds of Panama will be an essential tool for the new generation of birders traveling in search of Panama’s spectacular avifauna. This user-friendly, portable, and affordable identifi- cation guide features: large color illustrations of more than 900 species; the first range maps published to show the distribution of Panama’s birds; concise text that describes field marks for identification, as well as habitat, behavior, and vocalizations; range maps and species accounts that face illustration pages for quick, easy reference; the inclusion of North American migrants and seabirds, as well as female and juvenile plumage variations; and an up-to-date species list for the country that reflects recent additions, taxonomic splits, and other changes in classification. Panama’s unique geography, small size, and varied habitats make it possible to see a vast diversity of birds within a short time. Its western and central areas harbor representatives of species found in Central America; species characteristic of South America may be found in the east. In the winter, birds from northern climes are commonly found in Panama as migrants. This is the one field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in Panama’s diverse habitats. Combretaceae: Flora Neotropica Monograph 107. Clive Stace. 2010. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 374 pp. $85, hardcover. ISBN 9780893275037. This series of volumes provide, in monographic form, taxonomic treatments of plant groups or families growing in the Americas between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The monographs are intended to be comprehensive, so, in addition to the systematic treatment, authors are encouraged to provide information on economic botany, conservation, phylogenetic relationships, taxonomic history, ecology, cytology, 2011 Noteworthy Books 577 anatomy, and phytochemistry, among other topics. The monographs, published at irregular intervals since 1967, are the official publication of the Organization for Flora Neotropcia (OFN). Established in 1964, it is the only organization with the mission of producing a published botanical inventory of the American tropics. Ducktown Smoke: The Fight over One of the South's Greatest Environmental Disasters. Duncan Maysilles. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 344 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780807834596. It is hard to make a desert in a place that receives sixty inches of rain each year. But after decades of copper mining, all that remained of the old hardwood forests in the Ducktown Mining District of the Southern Appalachian Mountains was a fifty-square mile barren expanse of heavily gullied red hills—a landscape created by sulfur dioxide smoke from copper smelting and destructive logging practices. In Ducktown Smoke, Duncan Maysilles examines this environmental disaster, one of the worst the South has experienced, and its impact on environmental law and Appalachian conservation. Beginning in 1896, the widening destruction wrought in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina by Ducktown copper mining spawned hundreds of private lawsuits, culminating in Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co., the US Supreme Court's first air pollution case. In its 1907 decision, the Court recognized for the first time the sovereign right of individual states to protect their natural resources from transborder pollution, a foundational opinion in the formation of American environmental law. Maysilles reveals how the Supreme Court case brought together the disparate forces of agrarian populism, industrial logging, and the forest conservation movement to set a legal precedent that remains relevant in environmental law today. Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. Timothy P. Spira. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 540 pp. $26, softcover. ISBN 9780807871720. This richly illustrated field guide serves as an introduction to the wildflowers and plant communities of the southern Appalachians and the rolling hills of the adjoining piedmont. Rather than organizing plants, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, by flower color or family characteristics, as is done in most guidebooks, botanist Tim Spira takes a holistic, ecological approach that enables the reader to identify and learn about plants in their natural communities. This approach, says Spira, better reflects the natural world, as plants, like other organisms, don't live in isolation; they coexist and interact in myriad ways. Full-color photo keys allow the reader to rapidly preview plants found within each of the 21 major plant communities described, and the illustrated species description for each of the 340 featured plants includes fascinating information about the ecology and natural history of each plant in its larger environment. With this new format, readers can see how the mountain and piedmont landscapes form a mosaic of plant communities that harbor particular groups of plants. The volume also includes a glossary, illustrations of plant structures, and descriptions of sites to visit. Whether you're a beginning naturalist or an expert botanist, this guidebook is a useful companion on field excursions and wildflower walks, as well as a valuable reference. Backpacking North Carolina: The Definitive Guide to 43 Can't-Miss Trips from Mountains to Sea. Joe Miller. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 256 pp. $20, softcover. ISBN 9780807871836. Joe Miller brings us the first-ever stand-alone guidebook to backpacking in North Carolina, a state long known as a terrific backpacking destination. Covering 43 of the best trips the state has to offer, Backpacking North Carolina provides all the information necessary for beginning and experienced backpackers alike to enjoy hiking destinations from the mountains to the coast. Each trip description offers key maps and navigation information, including water sources and camping spots, as well as trip highlights and special considerations. Miller offers tips for enriching the experience, such as filling dark nights with stargazing and other activities, and gives advice for backpacking with children. Offering his expertise in a way that emphasizes the accessibility of backpacking, Miller encourages a wide range of nature lovers to give it a try, perhaps for the first time. Several "best-of" lists are included, featuring trips with exceptional nature study opportunities, water recreation, and easy excursions for beginners. Backpacking North Carolina takes the reader deep into a state full of natural wonder and adventure, and contains all the essentials for plan578 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 10, No. 3 ning your trip, whether a quick weekend getaway or a longer adventure, including: trips for beginner and expert backpackers alike; helpful essays to introduce each trail and its features; gear and safety advice for year-round backpacking; major points of interest highlighted on each trip; family-friendly trails and easy bailouts for when hiking with children; detailed trail maps and directions to trailheads; elevation profiles for each hike; estimated hike times and level of difficulty; camping permit requirements; GPS coordinates for water sources and good camping spots; abd bullet lists of best trips for fishing, bird watching, waterfalls, and more. Global Climate Change: A Primer. Orrin H. Pilkey, Keith C. Pilkey, and Mary Edna Fraser. 2011. Duke University Press, Durhaml, NC. 160 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780822351092. An internationally recognized expert on the geology of barrier islands, Orrin H. Pilkey is one of the rare academics who engages in public advocacy about science-related issues. He has written dozens of books and articles explaining coastal processes to lay readers, and he is a frequent and outspoken interviewee in the mainstream media. Here, the colorful scientist takes on climate change deniers in an outstanding and much-needed primer on the science of global change and its effects. After explaining the greenhouse effect, Pilkey, writing with son Keith, turns to the damage it is causing: sea level rise, ocean acidification, glacier and sea ice melting, changing habitats, desertification, and the threats to animals, humans, coral reefs, marshes, and mangroves. These explanations are accompanied by Mary Edna Fraser’s stunning batiks depicting the large-scale arenas in which climate change plays out. The Pilkeys directly confront and rebut arguments typically advanced by global change deniers. Particularly valuable are their discussions of “Climategate,” a manufactured scandal that undermined respect for the scientific community, and the denial campaigns by the fossil fuel industry, which they compare to the tactics used by the tobacco companies a generation ago to obfuscate findings on the harm caused by cigarettes. John Bachman: Selected Writings on Science, Race, and Religion. Gene Waddell (Editor). 2011. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 160 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780820338187. John Bachman (1790–1874) was an internationally renowned naturalist and a prominent Lutheran minister. This is the first collection of his writings, containing selections from his three major books, his letters, and his articles on plants and animals, education, religion, agriculture, and the human species. Bachman was the leading authority on North American mammals. He was responsible for the descriptions of the 147 mammal species included in Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a massive work produced in collaboration with John James Audubon. Bachman relied entirely on scientific evidence in his work and was exceptional among his fellow naturalists for studying the whole of natural history. Bachman also relied on scientific evidence in his Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race. He showed that human beings constitute a single species that developed as varieties equivalent to the varieties of domesticated animals. In this work, perhaps his most significant accomplishment, Bachman stood nearly alone in challenging the polygenetic views of Louis Agassiz and others that white and black people descended from different progenitors. Bachman was also an important figure in the establishment of Lutheranism in the Southeast. He wrote the first American monograph on the doctrines of Martin Luther and the history of the Reformation. Bachman served for fifty-six years as minister of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and was one of the founders of Newberry College. The Southeastern 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 southeastern US. Accompanying short, descriptive summaries of the text are also welcome.