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Noteworthy Books received by the Southeastern Naturalist

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 13, Issue 3 (2014): B8–B10

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Noteworthy Books 2013 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 13, No. 3 B8 Animal Body Size: Linking Pattern and Process across Space, Time, and Taxonomic Group. Felisa A. Smith and S. Kathleen Lyons (Eds.). 2013. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 280 pp. $50.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226012148. Galileo wrote that “nature cannot produce a horse as large as twenty ordinary horses or a giant ten times taller than an ordinary man unless by miracle or by greatly altering the proportions of his limbs and especially of his bones”—a statement that wonderfully captures a long-standing scientific fascination with body size. Why are organisms the size that they are? And what determines their optimum size? This volume explores animal body size from a macroecological perspective, examining species, populations, and other large groups of animals in order to uncover the patterns and causal mechanisms of body size throughout time and across the globe. The chapters represent diverse scientific perspectives and are divided into two sections. The first includes chapters on insects, snails, birds, bats, and terrestrial mammals and discusses the body size patterns of these various organisms. The second examines some of the factors behind, and consequences of, body size patterns and includes chapters on community assembly, body mass distribution, life history, and the influence of flight on body size. The Plant Hunters: The Adventures of the World’s Greatest Botanical Explorers. Carolyn Fry. 2013. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 64 pp. $30.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780226093314. From geraniums to begonias, the common plants that often adorn backyard gardens are rarely native to our region. The same goes for many of the diverse and delicious fruits and vegetables that grace our dinner tables. We take their accessibility and ubiquity for granted, unaware of the great debt we owe to the naturalists and explorers who traveled around the world in search of these then unusual plants and brought back samples and seeds—along with fantastic stories. In The Plant Hunters, Carolyn Fry pays homage to those whose obsession with plants gave rise to our own passion for botanicals and gardening. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred images from the archives at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, The Plant Hunters offers an accessible history of plant exploration and discovery through short, informative entries. From the naturalists of Alexander the Great’s entourage to pioneering botanists such as Joseph Hooker, Joseph Banks, and Alexander von Humboldt, Fry’s history covers the globe in its celebration of our fascination with plants. She shows how coconut trees and numerous fruits and vegetables were spread from one country to many, and the significant role that newly discovered plants, including tulips, Tea, and the Rubber Tree, have played in economic history. The Plant Hunters also traces the establishment of botanical gardens and the many uses of plants in medicine. In addition to stunning botanical drawings, the book features several unique facsimiles, including a letter from Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy; extracts from Joseph Hooker’s notebooks; an extract from the orchid sketchbook of John Day; and an original map of Kew Gardens made in 1740 by Jean Rocque. This gorgeous and entertaining history will be a perfect gift for gardeners, and anyone fascinated by the intersection of the histories of science and discovery. In Silico Bees. James Devillers (Ed.). 2014. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 314 pp. $119.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781466517875. Bees are critically important for ecosystem function and biodiversity maintenance through their pollinating activity. Unfortunately, bee populations are faced with many threats, and evidence of a massive global pollination crisis is steadily growing. As a result, there is a need to understand and, ideally, predict how bees respond to pollution disturbance and to the changes over landscape gradients, and how their responses can vary in different habitats, which are influenced to different degrees by human activities. Modeling approaches are useful to simulate the behavior of whole population dynamics as well as to focus on important phenomena detrimental to bee-life history traits. They also allow simulation of how a disease or a pesticide can impact the survival and growth of a bee population. In Silico Bees provides a collection of computational methods to those primarily interested in the study of the ecology, ethology, and ecotoxicology of bees. The book presents different cases studies to enable readers to understand the significance and also the limitations of models in theoretical and applied bee research. The text covers modeling of honey bee society organization, infectious diseases in colonies, pesticide Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 13/3, 2014 B9 Noteworthy Books 2013 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 13, No. 3 toxicity, chemical contamination of the hive, and more. Written by an international team of scientists, this book is of primary interest to those whose research or professional activity is directly concerned with the study of bees. It is also intended to provide graduate and postgraduate students with a clear and accessible text covering the main types of modeling approaches that can be used in terrestrial ecology and ecotoxicology. Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology, Second Edition. F. Stuart Chapin, III, Pamela A. Matson, and Peter M. Vitousek. 2012. Springer, New York, NY. 529 pp. $69.95, softcover. ISBN 9781441995025. Humans have directly modified half of the ice-free terrestrial surface and use 40% of terrestrial production. We are causing the sixth major extinction event in the history of life on Earth. With the Earth’s climate, flora, and fauna changing rapidly, there is a pressing need to understand terrestrial ecosystem processes and their sensitivity to environmental and biotic changes. This book offers a framework to do just that. Ecosystem ecology regards living organisms, including people, and the elements of their environment as components of a single integrated system. The comprehensive coverage in this textbook examines the central processes at work in terrestrial ecosystems, including their freshwater components. It traces the flow of energy, water, carbon, and nutrients from their abiotic origins to their cycles through plants, animals, and decomposer organisms. As well as detailing the processes themselves, the book goes further to integrate them at various scales of magnitude— those of the ecosystem, the wider landscape, and the globe. It synthesizes recent advances in ecology with established and emerging ecosystem theory to offer a wide-ranging survey of ecosystem patterns and processes in our terrestrial environment. Featuring review questions at the end of each chapter, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary of ecological terms, Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology is a vitally relevant text suitable for study in all courses in ecosystem ecology. Resource managers and researchers in many fields will welcome its thorough presentation of ecosystem essentials. Wetlands and Lakes of the World. Devashish Kar. 2013. Springer, New York, NY. 687 pp. $239.00, hardcover. ISBN 9788132210221. The occurrence and description of wetlands in India with reference to those around the world is detailed in a sequential manner from local to provincial, regional, national, and global scenarios in this book, Wetlands and Lakes of the World. The book also deals with a systematic, sequential, and comprehensive treatment of the Limnology (physico-chemical and biological features) and Fisheries of the Wetlands in India and is well supported by author’s original data. As limnology and fishery science are interlinked, this book attempts to provide a holistic view of both fields, along with their methodologies. The book has numerous examples from the local environment that go along with the explained theoretical concepts. Furthermore, a unique feature of the book is that it deals with the protocols of various limnological methodologies, thus, making it a handy guide for lab and field studies. The book has distinguished itself by incorporating a chapter based on global information systems or GIS. At the end of each chapter, the author provides an up-todate bibliography and summary. Supported by the author's original data, the text focuses on various aspects of wetlands generally not much dealt with elsewhere like fisherfolk, their fish catching devices, fishing centers, fish markets and, above all, their socio-economic conditions. Sea-Level Change in the Gulf of Mexico. Richard A. Davis, Jr. 2011. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 192 pp. $25.00, softcover. ISBN 9781603442244. From Florida to Mexico and along the shores of Cuba, the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico are vulnerable to sea-level rise because of their fragile and low-lying shorelines and adjacent coastal environments. In addition to wetlands, river deltas, beaches, and barrier islands, millions of people who live and work along the Gulf coast are susceptible to the affects of both intense storms in the short term and a gradual rise in sea level over the longer term. While global warming headlines any current discussion of this topic and is certainly a major factor in sea-level change, it is not the only factor. Earthquakes and other crustal shifts, the El Niño/ La Niña phenomena, river impoundment and sedimentation, tides, and weather can all affect local, regional, and global sea levels. In Sea- Level Change in the Gulf of Mexico, Richard A. Davis Jr. looks at the various causes and effects Noteworthy Books 2013 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 13, No. 3 B10 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. of rising and falling sea levels in the Gulf of Mexico, beginning with the Gulf’s geological birth over 100 million years ago, and focusing on the last 20,000 years, when global sea levels began rising as the glaciers of the last major ice age melted. Davis reviews the current situation, especially regarding beach erosion and loss of wetlands, and offers a preview of the future, when the Gulf Coast will change markedly as the twenty-first century progresses. Amply illustrated and written in a clear, straightforward style, Sea-Level Change in the Gulf of Mexico is a valuable resource for anyone who cares deeply about understanding the past, present, and future of life along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Air Plants: Epiphytes and Aerial Gardens. David H. Benzing. 2012. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 256 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780801450433. Often growing far above the ground, “air plants” (or epiphytes) defy many of our common perceptions about plants. The majority use their roots only for attachment in the crowns of larger, usually woody plants—or to objects such as rocks and buildings—and derive moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere and by collecting falling debris. Only the mistletoes are true parasites. Epiphytes are not anomalies and there are approximately 28,000 species—about 10 percent of all vascular plants—that grow this way. Many popular houseplants, including numerous aroids, bromeliads, ferns, and orchids, rank among the most familiar examples. In Air Plants, David H. Benzing takes a reader on a tour of the many taxonomic groups to which the epiphytes belong and explains in nontechnical language the anatomical and physiological adaptations that allow these plants to conserve water, thrive without the benefit of soil, and engage in unusual relationships with animals such as frogs and ants. Benzing’s comprehensive account covers topics including ecology, evolution, photosynthesis and water relations, mineral nutrition, reproduction, and the nature of the forest canopy as habitat for the free-living and parasitic epiphytes. It also pays special attention to important phenomena such as adaptive trade-offs and leaf economics. Drawing on the author’s deep experience with epiphytes and the latest scientific research, this book is accessible to readers unfamiliar with technical botany; it features lavish illustrations, references, a glossary, and tables. Pollution and Fish Health in Tropical Ecosystems. Eduardo Alves de Almeida and Ciro Alberto de Oliveira Ribeiro (Eds.). 2013. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 402 pp. $129.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781482212877. The tropical zone contains the highest diversity of fish species on the planet. Many of these species are being continuously exposed to pollutants that pose serious hazards to fish health thereby posing serious risks for entire fish populations. This book presents information about the different responses of fish to pollutants from the molecular levels to changes in behavior, with emphasis on tropical species. It also discusses current topics such as the adverse effects of emerging compounds like nanoparticles and endocrine disruptor chemicals.