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Noteworthy Books

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 15, Issue 1 (2016)

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Southeastern Naturalist B1 Noteworthy Books 2016 Vol. 15, No. 1 The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An Annotated Checklist with Comprehensive Keys. James Colin Lendemer, Richard Clinton Harris, and Erin Anne Tripp. 2013. The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY. 156 pp. $87.00, hardcover, ISBN 9780893275211. Like the Great Smoky Mountains themselves, much about the lichens of the Smokies has remained shrouded in mystery. The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park sheds considerable light on the diversity of these intriguing organisms in the Smokies, a diversity that is unmatched in any other American national park. Written by 3 of this country’s foremost lichen specialists and based on their extensive field and herbarium studies, The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a comprehensive summary of current knowledge of the lichen biota of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Included in this treatment are a revised and annotated checklist; comprehensive keys to all 804 known species of lichenized, lichenicolous, and allied fungi; extensive ecological notes on noteworthy discoveries, discussion of records for new and interesting taxa; formal description of 2 genera and 12 species new to science; color micrographs illustrating all new genera and species; and distribution maps for selected species. Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South (Environmental History and the American South). Paul Sutter (Author), James Giesen (Series Editor) . 2015. University of Georgia Press, Athens GA. 288 pp. $34.95, hardcover, ISBN 9780820334011. Providence Canyon State Park, also known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” preserves a network of massive erosion gullies allegedly caused by poor farming practices during the 19th century. It is a park that protects the scenic results of an environmental disaster. While little known today, Providence Canyon enjoyed a modicum of fame in the 1930s. During that decade, local boosters attempted to have Providence Canyon protected as a national park, insisting that it was natural. At the same time, national and international soil experts and other environmental reformers used Providence Canyon as the apotheosis of human, and particularly southern, land abuse. Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies uses the unlikely story of Providence Canyon—and the 1930s contest over its origins and meanin—to recount the larger history of dramatic human-induced soil erosion across the South and to highlight the role that the region and its erosive agricultural history played in the rise of soil science and soil conservation in America. More than that, though, the book is a meditation on the ways in which our persistent mental habit of separating nature from culture has stunted our ability to appreciate places like Providence Canyon and to understand the larger history of American conservation. Flora of Florida, Volume II: Dicotyledons, Cabombaceae through Geraniaceae Richard P. Wunderlin and Bruce F. Hansen. 2015. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 383 pp. $63.64, hard cover, ISBN 9780813060668. In the second volume of the Flora of Florida collection, Richard P. Wunderlin and Bruce F. Hansen continue the chief work of providing a means to identify the vast array of plants that populate that Sunshine State. Containing the taxonomic treatments of 52 families in 17 orders of dicotyledons, each entry of Volume II includes the current accepted scientific name of each species, the major nomenclatural synonyms, many common names, general habitat preferences, and, for plants not native to Florida, the place of origin. Flora of Florida, Volume III: Dicotyledons, Vitaceae through Urticaceae. Richard P. Wunderlin and Bruce F. Hansen. 2016. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 328 pp. $69.95, hardcover, ISBN 9780813061214. With more than 4000 kinds of native and non-native ferns and fern allies, nonflowering seed plants, and flowering seed plants, Florida has the third largest plant diversity of any state in the nation. Due to Florida’s mild climate, many non-native species—including major pest species—readily become naturalized, contributing nearly onethird of the species of known flora. Some of the plant species found in Florida, many of which are endangered, exist nowhere else in the world. Richard Wunderlin and Bruce Hansen provide a means to identify this vast array of plants with the only comprehensive identification manual and definitive guide to Florida’s flora. These second and third volumes include taxonomic keys to family, genus, and species, with families arranged alphabetically for easy Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 15/1, 2015 Southeastern Naturalist Noteworthy Books 2016 Vol. 15, No. 1 B2 reference. Entries include the current accepted scientific name of each species, the major nomenclatural synonyms, many common names, general habitat preferences, and, for plants not native to Florida, the place of origin. The complete Flora of Florida volumes will be the standard reference for years to come. Understanding Complex Ecosystem Dynamics: A Systems and Engineering Perspective, 1st Edition. William S. Yackinous. 2015. Academic Press an imprint of Elsevier, New York, NY. 436 pp. $139.00, hard cover, ISBN 9780128020319. This text takes a fresh, interdisciplinary perspective on complex system dynamics, beginning with a discussion of relevant systems and engineering skills and practices, including an explanation of the systems approach and its major elements. From this perspective, the author formulates a functionality-based framework of ecosystem dynamics to guide ecological investigations. Network theory, nonlinear dynamics theory, cellular automata theory, and roughness (fractal) theory are all covered in some detail, and contribute to the development of innovative system modeling that can be used to better understand and analyze large ecological networks. This is a valuable text for those seeking methods that will yield insights about the complex natural world we inhabit. Marsupial Frogs: Gastrotheca and Allied Genera. William E. Duellman. 2015. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 432 pp., $120.00, hardcover, ISNB 9781421416755. This scientific masterpiece reveals many aspects of the lives of marsupial frogs and closely allied genera. Native to Central and South America, these amphibians differ from other frogs in that they protect their eggs after oviposition by either adhering them to the female’s back or placing them in a specialized dorsal pouch (thus the common name, marsupial frog). During mating, the male typically collects the eggs from the female with his feet—often one at a time and always out of water—fertilizes them, and then tucks them into the female’s pouch or attaches them to her back. In some species these eggs hatch as tadpoles, but most emerge as miniatures of the adults. Even among the tadpoles there is remarkable divergence, with some behaving in the typical manner (feeding and metamorphosing), whereas others forego all feeding until they metamorphose. In Marsupial Frogs, William E. Duellman’s synthesis of all that is known about the unique family Hemiphractidae is largely based on decades of his own careful laboratory and field study. He reveals the diversity of exotic color patterns and the frogs’ geographic distributions by providing more than 200 photographs, illustrations, and maps. Included in this book are a molecular phylogeny of the family Hemiphractidae, a thorough osteological analysis, a review of external morphological features, an overview of the evolution of reproductive modes, a biogeographic synthesis, keys to genera and species, diagnosis and thorough description of each species of marsupial frog, and colored physiographic maps depicting species distributions. This exceptional tome should find its way into the libraries of serious herpetologists, tropical biologists, and developmental biologists. Amphibians and Reptiles of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida. Charles LeBuff and Chris Lechowicz. 2013. Amber Publishing, Fort Myers, FL. 279 pp. $29.95, paperback, ISBN 9780962501340. Written by retired sea turtle biologist Charles LeBuff and herpetologist Chris Lechowicz of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, this title summarizes more than a 50-year study of the herpetofauna of Southwest Florida and in particular the 2 famous barrier islands. All amphibians and reptiles that have been documented on Sanibel and Captiva islands are included and a 4-species supplemental list is appended for historical purposes. 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.