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2014 Vol. 13, No. 4
Biology and Conservation of North American
Tortoises. Edited by David C. Rostal, Earl D.
McCoy, and Henry R. Mushinksy. 2014. John
Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 190
pp., $69.95, hardcover. ISBN: 9781421413778.
This remarkable anthology by experts in the
field, gives a comprehensive overview of
tortoise morphology, taxonomy, systematics,
paleontology, physiology, ecology, behavior, reproduction,
diet, growth, health, and conservation.
Tortoises split from pond turtles about 100
million years ago and became plant-eating land
tortoises that grow to a comparatively enormous
size and can live up to 180 years or so. This text
also includes anatomy, physiology, reproductive
physiology with histological illustrations,
growth patterns, pathology, demography, life
history with evidence of behaviors, as well as
threats to tortoise well-being. Biology and Conservation
of North American Tortoises presents
much current field biology results and new data
on tortoise populations. An essential new reference
for your herpetology bookshelf.
Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide.
2014. Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess.
John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
MD. 288 pp. $26.95, softcover. ISBN
97814214143099. Describing the biology,
behavior, diversity, and cultural importance of
sharks, this book takes readers on an international
tour of shark habitats in oceans, lakes,
and rivers. Its authors are experts—George
Burgess is director of the Florida Program
for Shark Research and Gene Helfman is a
professor emeritus at the Conservation Biology
Programs at the University of Georgia.
Summarizing the attributes of 1000 shark species,
the authors also describe threats to their
existence such as overfishing and persecution.
The book is organized as answers to a long series
of common questions about these widely
misunderstood organisms. Contains beautiful
photographs, and is remarkably readable and
well-written. This guide is suitable for beginners
in the field and instructive for knowledgeable
Hiking North Carolina’s National Forests:
50 The Last Beach. Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew
G. Cooper. 2014. Duke University Press,
Durham, NC. 256 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN:
9780822358091. Pilkey is a professor emeritus
at Duke University and he is joined by Cooper,
of the University of Ulster, in this clarion call
for beach conservation. Together they present a
truly international picture of the current science
of shorelines. They discuss the harm being done
by dense oceanfront development, and the construction
of massive seawalls; the toll taken by
sand mining; trash that washes up on beaches, as
well as pollution in the water and the sand, in the
era of sea-level rise. They urge us to reconcile
our actions with our love of beaches and present
many ways to reverse our course. The Last
Beach is an exciting addition to the literature on
an important and timely subject. Includes beautiful
and disturbing color photographs.
Can’t-Miss Trail Adventures. Johnny Molloy.
2014. The University of North Carolina Press.
Chapel Hill, NC. 264 pp. $22.00, softcover.
ISBN: 9781469611679. Molloy renders the
sometimes-primitive trails of the 1.2 million
acres of national forestland in North Carolina
accessible to both beginner and more intrepid
hikers, from families with small children to
dedicated wilderness wanderers. Spotlighting
the best hikes in North Carolina’s four national
forests – Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatian,
ranging from mountains to the coast – this
book includes some of the state’s lesser-known
gems as well. Includes hike summary with
distance, time and difficulty; GPS coordinates,
cultural and natural history, best seasons to go,
fees and permits, plus photos and maps to orient
you. Hiking North Carolina’s National Forests:
50 Can’t-Miss Trail Adventures is a must-have
for your trip to North Carolina.
Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 13/4, 2014
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.