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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 11, Number 1, 2012

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 11, Issue 1 (2012): 155–162

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2012 Noteworthy Books 155 Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies. Mara J. Goldman, Paul Nadasdy, and Matthew D. Turner (Eds.). 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 376 pp. $39, softcover. ISBN 9780226301419. Political ecology and science studies have found fertile meeting ground in environmental studies. While the two distinct areas of inquiry approach the environment from different perspectives—one focusing on the politics of resource access and the other on the construction and perception of knowledge—their work is actually more closely aligned now than ever before. Knowing Nature brings together political ecologists and science studies scholars to showcase the key points of encounter between the two fields and how this intellectual mingling creates a lively and more robust ecological framework for the study of environmental politics. The contributors all actively work at the interface between these two fields, and here they use empirical material to explore questions of theoretical and practical import for understanding the politics that surround nature-society relations, from wildlife management in the Yukon to soil fertility in Kenya. In addition, they examine how various environmental knowledge claims are generated, packaged, promoted, and accepted (or rejected) by the different actors involved in specific cases of environmental management, conservation, and development. Finally, they ask what is at stake in the struggles surrounding environmental knowledge, how such struggles shape conceptions of the environment, and whose interests are served in the process. Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Ocean's Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter. Ellen Prager. 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 200 pp. $26, hardcover, ISBN 9780226678726; $15 softcover, ISBN 9780226678764. When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten. With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre 155 creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the Octopuses, Prager not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. And while these animals make for some jaw-dropping stories—witness the Sea Cucumber, which ejects its own intestines to confuse predators, or the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime—there’s far more to Prager’s account than her ever-entertaining anecdotes: again and again, she illustrates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research, and popular culture. Written with a diver’s love of the ocean, a novelist’s skill at storytelling, and a scientist’s deep knowledge, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime enchants as it educates, enthralling us with the wealth of life in the sea—and reminding us of the need to protect it. A Planet of Viruses. Carl Zimmer. 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 122 pp. $20, hardcover, ISBN 9780226983356; $12, softcover, ISBN 9780226983363. Viruses are the smallest living things known to science, yet they hold the entire planet in their sway. We are most familiar with the viruses that give us colds or the flu, but viruses also cause a vast range of other diseases, including one disorder that makes people sprout branch-like growths as if they were trees. Viruses have been a part of our lives for so long, in fact, that we are actually part virus: the human genome contains more DNA from viruses than our own genes. Meanwhile, scientists are discovering viruses everywhere they look: in the soil, in the ocean, even in caves miles underground. This fascinating book explores the hidden world of viruses—a world that we all inhabit. Here Carl Zimmer, popular science writer and author of Discover Magazine’s award-winning blog The Loom, presents the latest research on how viruses hold sway over our lives and our biosphere, how viruses helped give rise to the first life-forms, how viruses are producing new diseases, how we can harness viruses for our own ends, and how viruses will Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 11/1, 2012 156 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 11, No. 1 continue to control our fate for years to come. In this eye-opening tour of the frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life as we know it, we learn that some treatments for the common cold do more harm than good, that the world’s oceans are home to an astonishing number of viruses, and that the evolution of HIV is now in overdrive, spawning more mutated strains than we care to imagine. The New York Times Book Review calls Carl Zimmer “as fine a science essayist as we have.” A Planet of Viruses is sure to please his many fans and further enhance his reputation as one of America’s most respected and admired science journalists. Fungi: Experimental Methods in Biology, Second Edition. Ramesh Maheshwari. 2011. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 358 pp. $119.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781439839034. Fungi are now at the forefront of research on mechanisms in gene silencing, biological rhythm, mating processes, biogenesis of intracellular organelles, adaptations to hostile habitats, structure of natural populations, and speciation. Because of their small genomes, fungi are being used in “systems biology” to understand the connections between genes, proteins, and metabolic and signaling pathways. The ease with which yeasts and fungi can be cultivated in simple nutritive media has also made these eukaryotic organisms the choice material for basic and applied research. Fungi: Experimental Methods in Biology, Second Edition presents the latest information on fungal biology generated through advances in genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry. It gives an account of real experiments that have been carried out on the diverse lifestyles of these organisms. Following in the footsteps of its highly-praised predecessor, this book continues to be a comprehensive review of the state of our knowledge about how fungi function. Ecological Consequences of Climate Change: Mechanisms, Conservation, and Management. Erik A. Beever and Jerrold L. Belant (Eds.). 2011. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 336 pp. $99.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781420087208. Contemporary climate change is a crucial management challenge for wildlife scientists, conservation biologists, and ecologists of the 21st century. Climate fingerprints are being detected and documented in the responses of hundreds of wildlife species and numerous ecosystems around the world. To mitigate and accommodate the influences of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems, broader-scale conservation strategies are needed. Ecological Consequences of Climate Change: Mechanisms, Conservation, and Management provides a mechanistic understanding of biotic responses to climate change in order to better inform conservation and management strategies. Incorporating modeling and real-world examples from diverse taxa, ecosystems, and spatio-temporal scales, the book first presents research on recently observed rapid shifts in temperature and precipitation. It then explains how these shifts alter the biotic landscape within species and ecosystems, and how they may be expected to impose changes in the future. Also included are major sections on monitoring and conservation efforts in the face of contemporary climate change. Contributors highlight the general trends expected in wildlife and ecological responses as well as the exceptions and contingencies that may mediate those responses. The book discusses the quantification of the magnitude and variability in short-term responses, and delineates patterns of relative vulnerability among species and community types. It offers suggestions for designing investigations and management actions, including the long-term monitoring of ecological consequences of rapid climate change. It also identifies many of the biggest gaps in current knowledge, proposing avenues for further research. Bringing together many of the world’s leading experts on ecological effects of climate change, this unique and timely volume constitutes a valuable resource for practitioners, researchers, and students. Ecology and Conservation of Fishes. Harold M. Tyus. 2011. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 573 pp. $89.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781439858547. Written as a stand-alone textbook for students and a useful reference for professionals in government and private agencies, academic institutions, and consultants, Ecology and Conservation of Fishes provides broad, comprehensive, and systematic coverage of all aquatic systems from the mountains to the oceans. The book begins with overview discussions on the ecology, evolution, and diversity of fishes. It moves on to address freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems and identifies factors that affect the distribution and abundance of fishes. It then examines the adaptations of fishes as a response to constraints posed in ecosystems. The book con2012 Noteworthy Books 157 cludes with four chapters on applied ecology to discuss the critical issues of management, conservation, biodiversity crises, and climate change. Major marine fisheries have collapsed, and there are worldwide declines in freshwater fish populations. Fishery scientists and managers must become more effective at understanding and dealing with resource issues. If not, fish species, communities, and entire ecosystems will continue to decline as habitats change and species are lost. Ecology and Conservation of Fishes has taken a historical and functional approach to explain how we got where we are, providing old and new with a better foundation as ecologists and conservationists, and most importantly, it awakens senses of purpose and need. Past management practices are reviewed, present programs considered, and the need for incorporating principles of applied ecology in future practices is emphasized. Includes a 16- page, full-color insert featuring 141 figures, as well as a glossary, a lexicon of Greek and Latin word roots, and an appendix on fish identification to help students master the text material. Cumulative Effects in Wildlife Management: Impact Mitigation. Paul R. Krausman and Lisa K. Harris (Eds.). 2011. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 288 pp. $99.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781439809167. As humans continue to encroach on wildlands, quality and quantity of wildlife habitat decreases before our eyes. A housing development here, a shopping mall there, a few more trees cut here, another road put in there, each of these diminishes available habitat. Unless the cumulative effects of multiple simultaneous development projects are recognized and incorporated at the beginning of project development, we will continue to see wildlife habitat disappear at unprecedented rates. Divided into two parts, Cumulative Effects in Wildlife Management emphasizes the importance of recognizing cumulative effects and highlights the necessity of their bearing on future policy. It begins with an outline of the differences between direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of anthropogenic impacts on wildlife habitat and addresses the similarities and differences in US and Canadian policies, legal and economic ramifications, and the confusion that stems from lack of consideration, communication, and forward planning. Section 1 also describes the current standard means of quantifying cumulative effects as proposed by the Council on Environmental Quality. Section 2 presents a series of case studies that deepen our appreciation of how anthropogenic influences interconnect and how this heightened level of understanding influences our ability to make informed decisions. Case studies include cumulative effects in the Canadian Arctic, border issues with Mexico, suburban and exurban landscapes, scenic resources, and the cumulative impacts of energy development on Sagegrouse. Without a conscious knowledge of what is happening around us, we will not be able to incorporate an effective land ethic, and natural resources will be the ultimate loser. Cumulative Effects in Wildlife Management brings to light the crucial connections between human expansion and habitat destruction for those managers and practitioners charged with protecting wildlife in the face of changing landscapes. Eels at the Edge: Science, Status, and Conservation Concerns. John M. Casselman and David K. Cairns (Eds.). 2009. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 449 pp. $69, hardcover. ISBN 9781888569964. There is a catastrophic worldwide decline of anguillid (freshwater eel) species. World authorities on the three species consider mechanisms for addressing this concern and reversing trends. This book emphasizes recent and new insights into basic biology, resource status, and management procedures. Chapter authors provide innovative approaches to stock assessment and management. Following overviews presented in Part I, the volume is divided into sections covering science, ecology, and life history; status and dynamics; movement, migration, and barriers; and stock assessment and management. Taken all together, the information presented is an important resource for fisheries administrators, managers, researchers, and others whose work or interests concern these threatened species. Balancing Fisheries Management and Water Uses for Impounded River Systems. Michael S. Allen, Steve Sammons, and Michael J. Maceina (Eds.). 2009. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 697 pp. $69, softcover. ISBN 9781934874066. Professionals from a broad range of disciplines describe both historical and current-day issues associated with balancing fisheries management with other uses of water in impounded systems. Describes how water allocation issues can present economic and legal constraints to fisheries management and influence fishery quality. Reviews unique ways to approach reservoir management by considering 158 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 11, No. 1 the tools available in the watershed. Additional reservoir management topics addressed include conflict resolution and human dimension issues, new ways to evaluate fish species interactions, stocking programs, prey composition and abundance, and fish habitat. The book will be appreciated by fisheries administrators, managers, and researchers working to optimize fisheries resources that are subject to constraints within large and small impounded river basins. Biology, Management, and Conservation of Lampreys in North America. Larry R. Brown, Shawn D. Chase, Matthew G. Mesa, Richard, J. Beamish, and Peter B. Moyle. (Eds.). 2009. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 321 pp. $79, softcover. ISBN 9781934874134. Lampreys represent an ancient lineage extending back to the ostracoderms and are one of the most successful groups of living fishes. Perhaps best known for feeding on and killing bony fishes valued by humans, such as salmonids, lampreys exhibit a variety of fascinating life histories. Most lamprey species have lost the adult predatory stage of the life cycle and metamorphose, spawn, and die in the same stream in which they were spawned. Unfortunately, the bad reputation of predatory lampreys and the inconspicuous nature of small non-predaceous lampreys have resulted in their importance and special requirements in aquatic ecosystems being ignored. The impetus for this book was a petition to list four species of lamprey under the US Endangered Species Act, which was denied in 2004 because of insufficient information. This decision energized many biologists to gather the scattered existing information on lampreys and to begin new research. This book presents new scientific as well as traditional (indigenous) knowledge of lampreys, while demonstrating their fascinating nature. Readers interested in learning about lampreys will find not only a wealth of new information but also extensive citations of existing information in each chapter. Vertebrate Biology, 2nd Edition. Donald W. Linzey. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 608 pp. $110, 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; early chordates; fish, amphibians, reptiles (inclusive of birds), and mammals; population dynamics; movement and migration; behavior; study methods; extinction processes; and conservation and management. 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, function, and living patterns of the subphylum that includes our own species. Deer: The Animal Answer Guide. George A. Feldhamer and William J. McShea. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 200 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9781421403885. Think of deer and the image that pops into most American’s minds is that of a White-tailed Deer, the most common large mammal in North America. Most Europeans are more familiar with Red Deer. It may surprise many people to know that there are actually about 50 species of deer found throughout the world. Here, readers will find nontechnical, expert information about the wide range of diverse deer species. Did you know that Elk and Caribou are deer? Or that the earliest fossils of deer are 15 to 20 million years old? Have you ever wondered whether deer swim, play, or see color? How do deer avoid predators and survive the winter? Do deer make good pets or carry contagious diseases? George A. Feldhamer and William J. McShea answer these and other intriguing questions about members of the deer family Cervidae. From the diminutive Pudu of South America that weighs 17 pounds to male Moose that weigh close to 2000 pounds, Feldhamer and McShea explore the biology, evolution, ecology, feeding habits, reproduction, and behavior of deer. They chronicle the relationships between humans and deer—both positive and negative—and discuss the challenges of deer conservation and management. With vivid color photographs and an accessible and engaging question-and-answer format, this easy-toread book is the go-to resource on deer. Nature lovers, hunters, and anyone curious about deer will find this fact-filled book both fascinating and full of surprises. 2012 Noteworthy Books 159 Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide. Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 216 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9781421402239. One fish, two fish, red fish, nearly thirty thousand species of fish—or fishes, as they are properly called when speaking of multiple species. This is but one of many things the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal in answering common and not-so-common questions about this ubiquitous group of animals. Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as “How many kinds of fishes are there?” “Can fishes breathe air?” “How smart are fishes?” and “Do fishes feel pain?” They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the Devils Hole Pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; Lota Lota, the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place on male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities. With more than 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world's fishes from two premier experts, this fun book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist. Bats of the United States and Canada. Michael J. Harvey, J. Scott Altenbach, and Troy L. Best. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 224 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9781421401911. The only mammals capable of true flight, bats are among the world's most fascinating creatures. This accessible guide to the forty-seven species of bats found in the United States and Canada captures and explains the amazing diversity of these marvels of evolution. A wide variety of bat species live in the United States and Canada, ranging from the California Leaf-nosed Bat to the Florida Bonneted Bat, from the Eastern Small-footed Bat to the Northern Long-eared Bat. The authors provide an overview of bat classification, biology, feeding behavior, habitats, migration, and reproduction. They discuss the ever-increasing danger bats face from destruction of habitat, wind turbines, chemical toxicants, and devastating diseases like white-nose syndrome, which is killing millions of cave bats in North America. Illustrated species accounts include range maps and useful identification tips. Written by three of the world’s leading bat experts and featuring J. Scott Altenbach’s stunning photographs, this fact-filled and easy-to-use book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of bats in the US and Canada. In the Field, Among the Feathered: A History of Birders and Their Guides. Thomas R. Dunlap. 2011. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 256 pp. $34.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780199734597. America is a nation of ardent, knowledgeable birdwatchers. But how did it become so? And what role did the field guide play in our passion for spotting, watching, and describing birds? In the Field, Among the Feathered tells the history of field guides to birds in America from the Victorian era to the present, relating changes in the guides to shifts in science, the craft of field identification, and new technologies for the mass reproduction of images. Drawing on his experience as a passionate birder and on a wealth of archival research, Thomas Dunlap shows how the twin pursuits of recreation and conservation have inspired birders and how field guides have served as the preferred method of informal education about nature for well over a century. The book begins with the first generation of late 19thcentury birdwatchers who built the hobby when opera glasses were often the best available optics and bird identification was sketchy at best. As America became increasingly urban, birding became more attractive, and with Roger Tory Peterson’s first field guide in 1934, birding grew in both popularity and accuracy. By the 1960s recreational birders were attaining new levels of expertise, even as the environmental movement made birding’s other pole, conservation, a matter of human health and planetary survival. Dunlap concludes by showing how recreation and conservation have reached a new balance in the last 40 years, as scientists have increasingly turned to amateurs, whose expertise had been honed by the new guides, to gather the data they need to support habitat preservation. Putting nature lovers and citizen-activists at the heart of his work, Thomas Dunlap offers an entertaining history of America’s long-standing love affair with birds, and with the books that have guided and informed their enthusiasm. 160 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 11, No. 1 Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Freen Revolution in Agriculture. Pamela A. Matson (Ed.). 2011. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 312 pp. $45, softcover. ISBN 9781610911771. Seeds of Sustainability is a groundbreaking analysis of agricultural development and transitions toward more sustainable management in one region. An invaluable resource for researchers, policymakers, and students alike, it examines new approaches to make agricultural landscapes healthier for both the environment and people. The Yaqui Valley is the birthplace of the Green Revolution and one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world, using irrigation, fertilizers, and other technologies to produce some of the highest yields of wheat anywhere. It also faces resource limitations, threats to human health, and rapidly changing economic conditions. In short, the Yaqui Valley represents the challenge of modern agriculture: how to maintain livelihoods and increase food production while protecting the environment. Renowned scientist Pamela Matson and colleagues from leading institutions in the US and Mexico spent fifteen years in the Yaqui Valley in Sonora, Mexico addressing this challenge. Seeds of Sustainability represents the culmination of their research, providing unparalleled information about the causes and consequences of current agricultural methods. Even more importantly, it shows how knowledge can translate into better practices, not just in the Yaqui Valley, but throughout the world. The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. Laurence C. Smith. 2011. Plume Publishing, New York, NY. 336 pp. $16, softcover. ISBN 9780452297470. The world’s population is exploding, wild species are vanishing, and our environment is degrading. What kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Just who will flourish—and who will fail—in our evolving world? Combining the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data, Guggenheim fellow Laurence C. Smith predicts how the eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the United States) will become increasingly powerful while the nations around the equator struggle for survival. Like Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist, The World in 2050 is as credible as it is controversial, projecting the looming benefits as well as the problems of climate change. Evolution and the Emergent Self: The Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature. Raymond L. Neubauer. 2011. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 336 pp. $32.50, hardcover. ISBN 9780231150705. Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science’s quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with “Big History” and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer’s ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the “selforganizing” structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy 2012 Noteworthy Books 161 indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe. Ecological Restoration. Susan M. Galatowitsch. 2012. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 630 pp. $71.96, hardcover. ISBN 9780878936076. Ecological Restoration provides a comprehensive overview of the strategies being used around the world to reverse human impacts to landscapes, ecosystems, and species. This book aims to improve the outcomes of restoration practice by strengthening the connections between ecological concepts and real-world decision making: students explore each topic considering both researchbased knowledge and lessons learned from nineteen actual restorations. Details of these ecological restorations, from underwater reefs to mines in hot deserts, are woven into each chapter, presented as case studies, and used in exercises. Because introductory ecological restoration courses are taken by undergraduate students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, the book explains and applies basic concepts from many supporting fields that serve as the foundation for practice, including ecology, conservation biology, earth and water sciences, environmental design, and public policy. The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. Julie Zickefoose. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY. 384 pp. $28, hardcover. ISBN 9780547003092. Julie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free-living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding. Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds—such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long—is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place. The Bluebird Effect is about the change that’s set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird—or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And each chapter is illustrated with Zickefoose’s stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds. The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds. Daniel Lewis. 2012. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 368 pp. $45, hardcover. ISBN 9780300175523. Amateurs and professionals studying birds at the end of the nineteenth century were a contentious, passionate group with goals that intersected, collided and occasionally merged in their writings and organizations. Driven by a desire to advance science, as well as by ego, pride, honor, insecurity, religion and other clashing sensibilities, they struggled to absorb the implications of evolution after Darwin. In the process, they dramatically reshaped the study of birds. Daniel Lewis here explores the professionalization of ornithology through one of its key figures: Robert Ridgway, the Smithsonian Institution’s first curator of birds and one of North America’s most important natural scientists. Exploring a world in which the uses of language, classification and accountability between amateurs and professionals played essential roles, Lewis offers a vivid introduction to Ridgway and shows how his work fundamentally influenced the direction of American and international ornithology. He explores the inner workings of the Smithsonian and the role of collectors working in the field and reveals previously unknown details of the ornithological journal The Auk and the untold story of the color dictionaries for which Ridgway is known. Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide. Steven N.G. Howell. 2012. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 520 pp. $45, hardcover. ISBN 9780691142111. Petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels are among the most beautiful yet least known of all the world’s birds, living their lives at sea far from the sight of most people. Largely colored in shades of gray, black, and white, these enigmatic and fast-flying seabirds can be hard to differentiate, particularly from a moving boat. Useful worldwide, not just in North America, this photographic guide is based on unrivaled field experience and combines insightful text and hundreds of full-color images to help you identify these remarkable birds. The first book of its kind, this guide features an introduction that explains ocean habitats and 162 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 11, No. 1 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. the latest developments in taxonomy. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features such as flight manner, plumage variation related to age and molt, seasonal occurrence patterns, and migration routes. Species accounts are arranged into groups helpful for field identification, and an overview of unique identification challenges is provided for each group. The guide also includes distribution maps for regularly occurring species as well as a bibliography, glossary, and appendices. This first state-of-the-art photographic guide to these enigmatic seabirds includes hundreds of full-color photos throughout; features detailed species accounts that describe flight, plumage, distribution, and more; provides overviews of ocean habitats, taxonomy, and conservation; and offers tips on how to observe and identify birds at sea. Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees. Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn. 2012. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 245 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781604692198. Have you ever looked at a tree? That may sound like a silly question, but there is so much more to notice about a tree than first meets the eye. Seeing Trees celebrates seldom-seen but easily observable tree traits and invites you to watch trees with the same care and sensitivity that birdwatchers watch birds. Many people, for example, are surprised to learn that oaks and maples have flowers, much less flowers that are astonishingly beautiful when viewed up close. Focusing on widely grown trees, this captivating book describes the rewards of careful and regular tree viewing, outlines strategies for improving your observations, and describes some of the most visually interesting tree structures, including leaves, flowers, buds, leaf scars, twigs, and bark. Indepth profiles of ten familiar species—including such beloved trees as White Oak, Southern Magnolia, White Pine, and Tulip Poplar—show you how to recognize and understand many of their most compelling (but usually overlooked) physical features. Nancy Ross Hugo’s delightful text and Robert Llewellyn’s breathtaking photographs deliver a steady stream of small astonishments that not only underscore the fascinating physiology of trees but will bring you into a closer, more intimate relationship with these miracles of nature. The Last Great Plant Hunt: The Story opf Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. Carolyn Fry, Sue Seddon, and Gail Vines. 2011. Kew Publishing, Kew, UK. 245 pp. $29.70, hardcover. ISBN 9781842464328. Kew Publishing brings you the fascinating story of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank which has been described by Sir David Attenborough as, “perhaps the most significant conservation initiative ever”. The book will be a great read for all of those who care about our environment and the future of plants. Illustrated with spectacular images, this book arrives at a time when it has never been more important to conserve seeds from all plant species. As humans adapt to a changing climate and planet, there is a pressing need for wildplant seed banks and the plants they contain. Consequently, an urgent mission is underway to conserve all of the world’s plant diversity. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is a unique global asset—it is the largest seed bank of its kind in the world (dedicated to wild plant species) and contains the world’s most diverse seed collections. Over the past 10 years, more than 3.5 billion seeds from nearly 25,000 species have been collected and stored in seed banks both in their country of origin and in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. In October 2009, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank celebrated collecting, banking and conserving 10% of the world’s wild plant species, and the partnership now spans more than 120 institutions in 54 countries. The Last Great Plant Hunt takes the reader on a journey that encompasses some of the most beautiful and threatened habitats and plants on Earth from the deserts of Australia through the alpine meadows of China to the rainforests of Madagascar. It explains the process of collecting and taking care of seeds, the uses of banked seed, and the future of seed conservation worldwide. It includes profiles of seed hunters, fascinating stories of “treasure hunts” and gives readers an insight into the threats to wild plants, such as the impact of industrialisation on the depletion of the world’s flora.