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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 12, Number 2, 2013

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 12, Issue 2 (2013): 251–256

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2013 Noteworthy Books 451 Invasive Plant Ecology. Shibu Jose, Harminder Pal Singh, Daizy Rani Batish, and Ravinder Kumar Kohli (Eds.). 2013. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 302 pp. $99.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781439881262. Invasion of non-native plant species, which has a significant impact on the earth’s ecosystems, has greatly increased in recent years due to expanding trade and transport among different countries. Understanding the ecological principles underlying the invasive process as well as the characteristics of the invasive plants is crucial for making good management decisions to address this problem. Invasive Plant Ecology includes chapters derived from presentations at conferences such as the World Congress of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), as well as contributions from invited renowned authors. The chapters include both original research and syntheses of current knowledge on specific topics. Actions essential for coordinated approaches to curtail plant invasion include increasing awareness of the ecological impacts of alien plants and employing novel control strategies. This book provides a foundation in invasion ecology by examining ecological theories and case studies that explain plant invasions, their impacts, management strategies, and the ecological economics. The chapters describe ecological characteristics, mutualistic associations, microbial communities, and disturbance regimes that affect the spread of invasive plants. The book also covers spatial analysis and predictive modeling of invasive plants. The final chapters offer guidelines for ecological management and restoration of invaded areas and describe the economics of the invasive plant issue. This collection contains case studies from around the world, giving readers a real view of the extent of the invasive species issue along with real-world strategies. With its focus on the ecological aspects of plant invasion, this book provides an important reference for students, scientists, professionals, and policy makers who are involved in the study and management of alien invasive plants and ecosystems. Essay on the Geography of Plants. Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland. 2010. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 296 pp. $45.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226360669. The legacy of Alexander von Humboldt (1769– 451 1859) looms large over the natural sciences. His 1799–1804 research expedition to Central and South America with botanist Aimé Bonpland set the course for the great scientific surveys of the nineteenth century and inspired such essayists and artists as Emerson, Goethe, Thoreau, Poe, and Church. The chronicles of the expedition were published in Paris after Humboldt’s return, and first among them was the 1807 “Essay on the Geography of Plants.” Among the most cited writings in natural history, after those of Darwin and Wallace, this work appears here for the first time in a complete English-language translation. Covering far more than its title implies, it represents the first articulation of an integrative “science of the earth, ” encompassing most of today’s environmental sciences. Ecologist Stephen T. Jackson introduces the treatise and explains its enduring significance two centuries after its publication. This edition also includes a poster-sized color reproduction of the Mt. Chimborazo tableau, an icon in the history of science and scientific graphics. The Nine-Banded Armadillo: A Natural History. W.J. Loughry and Colleen M. Mc- Donough. 2013. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK. 320 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780806143101. The word armadillo is Spanish for “little armored one”. This midsize mammal that looks like a walking tank is a source of fascination for many people but a mystery to almost all. Dating back at least eleven million years, the nocturnal, burrowing insectivore was for centuries mistaken for a cross between a hedgehog and a turtle, but it actually belongs to the mammalian superorder Xenarthra that includes sloths and anteaters. Biologists W. J. Loughry and Colleen M. McDonough have studied the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) for more than twenty years. Their richly illustrated book offers the first comprehensive review of everything scientists know about this unique animal. Engaging both scientists and a broader public, Loughry and McDonough describe the armadillo’s anatomy and physiology and all aspects of its ecology, behavior, and evolution. They also compare the Nine-banded Armadillo with twenty or so other, related species. The authors pay special attention to three key features of armadillo biology—reproduction, disease, and habitat Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 12/2, 2013 452 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 12, No. 2 expansion—and why they matter. Armadillos reproduce in a unique and puzzling manner: females always give birth to litters of genetically identical quadruplets, a strategy not found in any other vertebrates. Nine-banded Armadillos are also the only vertebrates except for humans known to contract leprosy naturally. And what about habitat expansion? The authors suggest that the armadillo’s remarkable spread across the southeastern United States may be the consequence of its most notable feature: a tough, protective carapace. Biologists, evolutionists, students, and all those interested in this curious creature will find The Nine-Ganded Armadillo rich in information and insight. This comprehensive analysis will stand as the definitive scientific reference for years to come and a source of pleasure for the general public. Hiking and Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway. Leonard M. Adkins. 2013. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 408 pp. $18.00, softcover. ISBN 9781469608198. This comprehensive guidebook provides a detailed description of every official trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway. But that's just the beginning: veteran hiker Leonard M. Adkins includes information on every trail that touches the Parkway, including the Appalachian Trail, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and other public pathways on national park, state park, national forest, municipal, and private lands. You’ll find GPS coordinates for official Parkway trailheads, along with fifty maps and many photographs of what you’ll see along the way. Adkins notes each trail’s length, difficulty, points of interest, handicap accessibility, and natural features. Far more than a guide to the trails, this book also tells you what to expect at overlooks, as well as where to dine, sleep, and find a restroom, and suggests worthwhile side trips. Elevation change charts for bicyclists, minimum tunnel heights for RVs, camping recommendations, roadside bloom calendars, sightseeing information for nearby towns, and other advice make this the perfect companion for your next Parkway adventure. Florida Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide. Walter Kingsley Taylor. 2013. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 584 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813044255. Walter Kingsley Taylor’s Florida Wildflowers in their Natural Communities was wildly praised for its beauty, ease of use, and unique organizational structure; plants were described in the context of where they grow, making identification much simpler—and more rewarding—for the casual hiker or wildflower enthusiast. Vastly expanded and updated with new taxonomy, this edition provides detailed information on more than 450 species and nearly doubles the number of species included by expanding coverage into wetlands. Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast. Tom Cox and John M. Ruter. 2013. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 296 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813042480. Conifers are among the most beautiful and versatile of all landscape plants, offering year-round variety of color, form, and texture. They remain underutilized in the South, in part because of the common misconception that they are not adaptable to the climate. Laying such claims to rest, this book introduces readers to conifers that grow successfully in southern landscapes. Gardeners in the South traditionally have relied on masses of spectacular spring blooms as the mainstay of their landscapes. However, with the addition of conifers or cultivars of the genus Ginkgo, homeowners can enjoy twelve months of low maintenance color. Tom Cox and John Ruter present a variety of conifers that grow from Virginia to Florida to Texas. They provide tips on growing, pruning, preventing disease and pest problems, and proper selection and cultivation requirements—all unique to the Southeast. In short, this guide includes essential information about what to buy, where to plant it, and how to maintain it. It also offers advice on what to expect from mature conifers and ginkgo while suggesting genera and species that have proved adaptable and cultivars that have performed well in the southeastern United States. Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast is a compilation of years of research and horticulture experience that will aid anyone, whether novice or professional, in creating beautiful year-round landscapes. Corals of Florida and the Caribbean. George F. Warner. 2012. University of Florida Press, Boca Raton, FL. 232 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813041650. Presenting a stunning array of beauty and biodiversity, the coral reefs of Florida and the Caribbean are part play2013 Noteworthy Books 453 ground, part research lab for the thousands of tourists, divers, and marine scientists who visit them every year. Documenting the wide array of corals at home in the warm waters of the Caribbean, George Warner’s Corals of Florida and the Caribbean provides an easy-to-use (and carry) guidebook that is both scientifically accurate and reader friendly. Warner provides an exhaustive identification guide that will enrich any novice’s vacation dive or an expert’s return to the reefs. Written for the amateur naturalist, this handbook will travel well throughout the Caribbean, from Florida south to Belize, east to Tobago, and all points in between. Beyond documenting the wide variety of corals found in the Caribbean, Warner also outlines their biology, from the way they grow to their reproductive habits, while examining major threats to the reefs including hurricanes, pollution, and global warming. With over 150 color photos, most taken by the author himself, as well as detailed descriptions, Corals of Florida and the Caribbean makes identifying and learning about corals hassle free—on the boat, at home, or in the classroom. The World of the Salt Marsh: Appreciating and Protecting the Tidal Marshes of the Southeastern Atlantic Coast. Charles Seabrook. 2013. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 384 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780820345338. The World of the Salt Marsh is a wide-ranging exploration of the southeastern coast—its natural history, its people and their way of life, and the historic and ongoing threats to its ecological survival. Focusing on areas from Cape Hatteras, NC, to Cape Canaveral, FL, Charles Seabrook examines the ecological importance of the salt marsh, calling it “a biological factory without equal”. Twicedaily tides carry in a supply of nutrients that nourish vast meadows of Spartina (Spartina alterniflora)—a crucial habitat for creatures ranging from tiny marine invertebrates to wading birds. The meadows provide vital nurseries for 80 percent of the seafood species, including oysters, crabs, shrimp, and a variety of finfish, and they are invaluable for storm protection, erosion prevention, and pollution filtration. Seabrook is also concerned with the plight of the people who make their living from the coast’s bounty and who carry on its unique culture. Among them are Charlie Phillips, a fishmonger whose livelihood is threatened by development in McIntosh County, GA, and Vera Manigault of Mount Pleasant, SC, a basket maker of Gullah-Geechee descent, who says that the sweetgrass needed to make her culturally significant wares is becoming scarcer. For all of the biodiversity and cultural history of the salt marshes, many still view them as vast wastelands to be drained, diked, or “improved” for development into highways and subdivisions. If people can better understand and appreciate these ecosystems, Seabrook contends, they are more likely to join the growing chorus of scientists, conservationists, fishermen, and coastal visitors and residents calling for protection of these truly amazing places. Cougar Ecology and Conservation. Maurice Hornocker and Sharon Negri (Eds.). 2009. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 304 pp. $49.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226353449. The Cougar is one of the most beautiful, enigmatic, and majestic animals in the Americas. Eliciting reverence for its grace and independent nature, it also triggers fear when it comes into contact with people, pets, and livestock or competes for hunters’ game. Mystery, myth, and misunderstanding surround this remarkable creature. The Cougar’s range once extended from northern Canada to the tip of South America, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic, making it the most widespread animal in the western hemisphere. But overhunting and loss of habitat vastly reduced Cougar numbers by the early twentieth century across much of its historical range, and today the Cougar faces numerous threats as burgeoning human development encroaches on its remaining habitat. When Maurice Hornocker began the first long-term study of cougars in the Idaho wilderness in 1964, little was known about this large cat. Its secretive nature and rarity in the landscape made it difficult to study. But his groundbreaking research yielded major insights and was the prelude to further research on this controversial species. The capstone to Hornocker’s long career studying big cats, Cougar is a powerful and practical resource for scientists, conservationists, and anyone with an interest in large carnivores. He and conservationist Sharon Negri bring together the diverse perspectives of twenty-two distinguished scientists to provide the fullest account of the Cougar’s ecology, behavior, and genetics, its role as a top predator, and its conservation needs. This compilation of recent findings, stunning photographs, and firsthand accounts of field research unravels 454 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 12, No. 2 conservation action that has led to notable successes, including the recovery of some of the nation’s most emblematic species, such as the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Whooping Crane, and Peregrine Falcon. Despite this, a third of all American bird species are in trouble—in many cases, they’re in imminent danger of extinction. The most authoritative account ever published of the threats these species face, The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation will be the definitive book on the subject. The Guide presents for the first time anywhere a classification system and threat analysis for bird habitats in the United States, the most thorough and scientifically credible assessment of threats to birds published to date, as well as a new list of birds of conservation concern. Filled with beautiful color illustrations and original range maps, the Guide is a timely, important, and inspiring reference for birders and anyone else interested in conserving North America’s avian fauna. But this book is far more than another shout of crisis. The Guide also lays out a concrete and achievable plan of long-term action to safeguard our country’s rich bird life. Ultimately, it is an argument for hope. Whether you spend your early weekend mornings crouched in silence with binoculars in hand, hoping to check another species off your list, or you’ve never given much thought to bird conservation, you’ll appreciate the visual power and intellectual scope of these pages. Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness. Al Cambronne. 2013. Lyons Press, Gilford, CT. 272 pp. $18.95 softcover. ISBN 9780762780273. Behind the unassuming grace and majesty of America’s White-tailed Deer is the laundry list of human health, social, and ecological problems they cause. They destroy farm crops and vegetable gardens, devour suburban landscaping, ravage entire ecosystems, endanger motorists, and spread Lyme disease all across the United States. In Deerland, Al Cambronne ventures afield with botanists, ecologists, frustrated farmers and foresters, overworked body-shop owners, camo-clad hunters, and humble deer enthusiasts. Along the way, he gives readers an insider’s tour of America’s deer-industrial complex— and makes a convincing case that yes, there really is such a thing. Cambronne examines our history with White-taileds, pinpoints where our ecological problems began, and asks tough questions about what it will take to the mysteries of this magnificent animal and emphasizes its importance in healthy ecosystem processes and in our lives. The Atlas of Coasts and Oceans: Ecosystems, Threatened Resources, Marine Conservation. Don Hinrichsen. 2011. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 128 pp. $22.00, softcover. ISBN 9780226342269. Oceans drive the world’s climate, nurture marine ecosystems full of aquatic life, and provide shipping lanes that have defined the global economy for centuries. And few realize that half of the world’s population lives in a coastal region within easy reach of one. Yet human activities such as commercial fishing, coastal real estate development, and industrial pollution have taken their toll on the seas. The first book of its kind, The Atlas of Coasts and Oceans documents the fraught relationship between humans and the earth’s largest bodies of water—and outlines the conservation steps needed to protect the marine environment for generations to come. The Atlas offers a fascinating and often sobering account of how urbanization, climate change, offshore oil drilling, shipping routes, global tourism, and maritime conflict have had a profound impact on the world’s oceans and coasts. Combining text and images in visually engaging, thematically organized map spreads, this volume addresses the ecological, environmental, and economic importance of marine phenomena such as coral reefs, eroding shorelines, hurricanes, and fish populations—and how development threatens to destroy the ultimate source of all life on the “blue planet”. Lavishly illustrated with global and regional maps, from the Arabian Gulf to the Great Barrier Reef, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and all the other major global waterways, The Atlas of Coasts and Oceans will be the definitive companion to any study of its subject for years to come. The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation. Daniel J. Lebbin, Michael J. Parr, and George H. Fenwick. 2010. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 456 pp. $45.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226647272. Whether we live in cities, in the suburbs, or in the country, birds are ubiquitous features of daily life, so much so that we often take them for granted. But even the casual observer is aware that birds don’t fill our skies in the number they once did. That awareness has spawned 2013 Noteworthy Books 455 Walter Tschinkel’s passion for fire ants has been stoked by over thirty years of exploring the rhythm and drama of Solenopsis invicta’s biology. Since South American fire ants arrived in Mobile, AL, in the 1940s, they have spread to become one of the most reviled pests in the Sunbelt. In Fire Ants, Tschinkel provides not just an encyclopedic overview of S. invicta— how they found colonies, construct and defend their nests, forage and distribute food, struggle among themselves for primacy, and even relocate entire colonies — but a lively account of how research is done, how science establishes facts, and the pleasures and problems of a scientific career. Between chapters detailed enough for experts but readily accessible to any educated reader, “interludes” provide vivid verbal images of the world of fire ants and the people who study them. Early chapters describe the several failed, and heavily politically influenced, eradication campaigns, and later ones explore the remarkable spread of S. invicta’s “polygyne” form, in which nests harbor multiple queens and colonies reproduce by “budding”. The reader learns much about ants, the practice of science, and humans’ role in the fire ant’s North American success. Life in a Shell: A Physiologists View of a Turtle. Donald C. Jackson. 2013. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 192 pp. $18.95, softcover. ISBN 9780674072305. Trundling along in essentially the same form for some 220 million years, turtles have seen dinosaurs come and go, mammals emerge, and humankind expand its dominion. Is it any wonder the persistent reptile bested the hare? In this engaging book, physiologist Donald C. Jackson shares a lifetime of observation of this curious creature, allowing us a look under the shell of an animal at once so familiar and so strange. Here we discover how the turtle’s proverbial slowness helps it survive a long, cold winter under ice. How the shell not only serves as a protective home but also influences such essential functions as buoyancy control, breathing, and surviving remarkably long periods without oxygen, and how many other physiological features help define this unique animal. Jackson offers insight into what exactly it’s like to live inside a shell— to carry the heavy carapace on land and in water, to breathe without an expandable ribcage, to have sex with all that body armor intervening. Along the way we also learn something about the process of scientific discovery—how the restore the balance we’ve disrupted. With over 30 million deer in the US, a hundred times more than just a century ago, Deerland is a timely and insightful look at the ecological havoc being wreaked by this innocent and adored species. Whether you’re a hunter or a gardener, and whether you care about the environment, the deer in your back yard, or the shrubbery they just ate, Deerland is an eye-opening read that will change forever the way you think about deer and the landscape we share with them. Concealing Coloration in Animals. Judy Diamond and Alan B. Bond. 2013. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 288 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780674052352. The biological functions of coloration in animals are sometimes surprising. Color can attract mates, intimidate enemies, and distract predators. But color patterns can also conceal animals from detection. Concealing coloration is unusual because it is an adaptation not only to the visual features of the environment but also to the perceptual and cognitive capabilities of other organisms. Judy Diamond and Alan Bond bring to light the many factors at work in the evolution of concealing coloration. Animals that resemble twigs, tree bark, stones, and seaweed may appear to be perfect imitations, but no concealment strategy is without flaws. Amid the clutter of the natural world, predators search for minute, telltale clues that will reveal the identity of their prey. Predators have remarkable abilities to learn to discriminate the fake from the real. But prey have their own range of defensive tactics, evolving multiple appearances or the ability to change color at will. Drawing on modern experimental evidence of the functional significance of animal color strategies, Diamond and Bond offer striking illustrations of how the evolution of features in one organism can be driven by the psychology of others. Concealing Coloration in Animals takes readers on a scientific adventure that explores creatures inside mats of floating seaweed, mice and lizards on desert rocks and sand, and rare parrots in the rainforest of New Zealand. Color photographs extensively document the mindboggling array of deceptive strategies animals use to blend in, mislead, or vanish from view. The Fire Ants. Walter R. Tschinkel. 2013. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 744 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780674072404. 456 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 12, No. 2 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. answer to one question leads to new questions, how a chance observation can change the direction of study, and above all how new research always builds on the previous work of others. A clear and informative exposition of physiological concepts using the turtle as a model organism, this book is as interesting for what it tells us about scientific investigation as it is for its deep and detailed understanding of how the enduring turtle “works”.