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Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 1, 2006

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 1 (2006): 184–190

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184 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 1 184 Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 5/1, 2006 Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses. Revised Edition. James H. Miller and Karl V. Miller. 2005. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 454 pp. $34.95, softcover. ISBN 0820327484. This guide to about 330 species of plants includes forbs, graminoids, vines, and shrubs, emphasizing their use to wildlife. A description is provided for each genera, and the common species are listed with descriptions of stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, range, ecology, and synonyms. Packed with 650 glossy color photos, this field guide will be useful to students, landowners, and anyone interested in plant identification and the interactions between plants and wildlife. A glossary and figures illustrating flower parts, grass parts, and leaf and flower arrangements will aid the beginner in identification. A reference section and an index of wildlife species are included, as well as an index to the plants’ scientific and common names. C.R. Disconnected Rivers: Linking Rivers to Landscapes. Ellen Wohl. 2004. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 301 pp. $35, hardcover. ISBN 0300103328 A well organized survey of the present state of major river systems in North America. Introduces the basic physical, chemical and biological processes of free flowing rivers. Uses case studies from specific regions and rivers to highlight current threats and problems. Each case study includes impacts on an animal unique to the region. Threat topics include mining, both historical and contemporary, dams and governmental bureaucracy, and industrial chemical pollution. Lacks a chapter devoted to agricultural practices and impacts. Interesting chapter on river restoration and rehabilitation. Extensive notes. Slightly technical for the casual reader, but within reach for general audience. Black and white photos. A well informed, earnest book. S.O’M. A Guide to Wildlife Sounds. Lang Elliot. 2005. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 106 pp. $24.95 softcover (includes audio CD). ISBN 0811731901 A generalist’s guide to wildlife sounds including the sounds of one hundred North American mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Small book includes a well organized and clear audio CD. Audio selections are short but representative. Book contains good color photos of each species, range and habitat information, and a description of the sounds heard on the CD. Treats most commonly encountered mammals, common birds with distinctive calls, many frogs, and especially noisy insects. Excellent for beginners. CD is a useful and unique reference for any library. S.O’M. Birds of Two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Migration. Russell Greenberg and Peter P. Marra (Eds.). 2005. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 466 pp. $110, hardcover. ISBN 0801881072. The seasonal migrations of birds between continents ranks as one of the most intriguing and amazing phenomena of the natural world. Traveling thousands of miles at high altitudes over imposing geographical barriers is a way of life for hundreds of species of birds, and the questions posed by these travels have long been the object of study by ornithologists and other biologists. This volume presents some of the most up to date research on this topic, and together with two earlier classics on the subject, Migrant Birds in the Neotropics and Ecology and Conservation of Neotropical Migrant Landbirds, completes a trilogy of books essential to a professional understanding of migratory behavior and biology. Divided into seven parts, this volume brings together the work of international experts on evolution, adaptations, biogeography, connectivity, migra2006 Book Reviews 185 tion, and behavioral and population ecology. Extensively referenced to the literature, and an important resource for professionals and serious birders. S.E. Chasing Neotropical Birds. Vera and Bob Thornton. 2005. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 240 pp. $34.95, hardcover. ISBN 0292705891. The forests of Central and South America are home to some of the most unusual and brightly colored birds on the planet. The Thorntons have spent 15 years searching out and photographing these birds in eleven different countries from Guatemala to Brazil, and this book details their adventures and showcases over one hundred of their favorite photographs. The result is an entertaining and engaging story of how two avid bird watchers took some of the most spectacular and beautiful photographs of tropical birds ever published. This book is for anyone who loves nature photography or birding, and it is a fine introduction to the beauty and diversity of this region for anyone who plans on traveling there. S.E. Tropical Rainforests: Past, Present, and Future. Eldredge Bermingham, Christopher W. Dick, and Craig Moritz (Eds.). 2005. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 672 pp. $45, softcover. ISBN 0226044688. This volume is a synthesis of research findings by 62 evolutionary biologists and ecologists engaged in the study of tropical rainforest communities and species diversity. Drawing upon the disciplines of paleoecology, climatology, geology, molecular systematics, biogeography, and community ecology, this work examines evolutionary histories, climate change, and ecological dynamics of tropical rainforests. The Australian Wet Tropics are showcased as an example of this integrated approach that can be applied to other rainforest ecosystems. The fossil and geographical record coupled with present day findings offer insight into the future of tropical rainforests in the face of human activity and global climate change predictions. This is a scholarly and technical work, well referenced to the literature and supplemented with 8 color plates, 131 line drawings, and 46 tables. An important reference for any scientist studying tropical rainforests, this volume also provides a sound scientific basis for conservation efforts. S.E. The Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations, and New Evidence. Chris Bolgiano and Jerry Roberts (Eds.). 2005. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 246 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 0811732185. Few animals in North America have the mystique of the cougar, and few arouse as much fear. This big cat has been hunted to near extinction throughout much of its former range, and on the east coast only isolated populations in Florida and Canada remain, or so goes the conventional wisdom. This book provides a historical account of the eastern cougar and then addresses the question of whether it can still survive in any of the states along the eastern seaboard. Numerous sightings throughout the years suggest that there may still be some cougars left roaming eastern forests, but whether these are escaped “pets” or truly wild animals remains a question of hot debate. This book presents the evidence and leaves it up to the reader to decide. Informative and of great interest. S.E. Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest. Lawrence S. Earley. 2004. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 336 pp. $27.50, hardcover. ISBN 0807828866. The southeastern United States from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi flood plain was once dominated by over 92 million acres of forests of longleaf pine. These graceful, long needled pines often grew in forests of widely spaced trees with an understory of grasses, giving 186 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 1 them a park-like spaciousness that filled early explorers and settlers with delight and wonder. Today, little remains of these original forests, and this book tells the story of how “need, greed, and mismanagement” resulted in the loss of an amazing and unique ecosystem. Lawrence Earley’s wide ranging account is a history of the southeast, an informative natural history, and a paean to a beautiful tree. We learn of the important role of fire in this ecosystem, of the now endangered plant and animal species that relied upon it, and of how the quest for turpentine and lumber led to a loss unsurpassed in severity by the decline of any of the planet’s other great ecosystems. Most importantly, we learn of the efforts to conserve and regenerate these forests — efforts which, though difficult and halting, ultimately bring hope and inspiration. S.E. Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest. Joan Maloof. 2005. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 156 pp. $24.95 hardcover. ISBN0820327433. A collection of essays, each centered a single tree species. Maloof reveals little known facts about the trees we all thought we knew so well and many of the other organisms with which they interact. She is a skilled and engaging storyteller. This small book is suitable for anyone who enjoys reading about nature and is fascinated by the many unseen interactions between organisms. C.R. Ecology & Evolution in the Tropics: A Herpetological Perspective. Maureen A. Donnelly, Brian I. Crother, Craig Guyer, Marvalee H. Wake, and Mary E. White (Eds.). 2005. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 675 pp. $45, softcover. ISBN 0226156575. This book is a synopsis of scientific research into the systematics, evolution, and biology of tropical amphibians and reptiles, with contributions from twenty-nine renowned scientists. The contributions include surveys of the herpetofauna found in a range of tropical ecosystems, discussions of evolution, systematics, and molecular taxonomy, and details of pit viper and tropical frog research. This is a text written by specialists for specialists. It is well referenced to the literature, and provides important baseline information that will be of great value for future research efforts. Sure to be valued by herpetologists and researchers studying tropical ecosystems. S.E. Tropical Ecosystems and Ecological Concepts. Patrick L. Osborne. 2000. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 464 pp. $45, softcover. ISBN 0521642515. This is a good introductory textbook for students of tropical ecology. It is international in scope and covers both aquatic and terrestrial tropical ecosystems. Basic ecological concepts are introduced and discussed in the context of a broad range of habitats, including deserts, rain forests, savannas, mangroves, wetlands, lakes and rivers, mountains, and coral reefs and tropical islands. Important conservation issues such as biodiversity, human impacts, sustainability, and climate change are also discussed. The text is well supported with tables, figures, maps, and photos, with a glossary and references at the end. This is a concise and valuable synthesis of a broad area of study, sure to become a widely used teaching text. S.E. Evolution on Planet Earth: The Impact of the Physical Environment. Lynn J. Rothschild and Adrian M. Lister (Eds.). 2003. Academic Press, London. 438 pp. $69.95, hardcover. ISBN 0125986556. Charles Darwin proposed that the environment was a major force driving evolutionary change, and this fascinating book addresses exactly how key events in the evolution of life have been shaped by the changing environment of our planet. Chapters address how major planetary events such as ice ages and other forms of climate change, the composition of atmo2006 Book Reviews 187 spheric gases, and continental drift have strongly influenced the course of life. Ultimately, the authors ask about whether life may have evolved on other planets, given what we know about the physical characteristics of those planets. The product of a 1999 Linnean Society meeting with contributions by many eminent scientists, this book includes many color plates, tables and diagrams, and is well referenced to the literature. An excellent text for introductory courses in biology, geology, and evolution. S.E. The Smaller Majority. Piotr Naskrecki. 2005. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 278 pp. $35, hardcover. ISBN 0674019156 An astonishing book of photographs and writing about tiny creatures: the insects, arachnids, frogs, crustaceans, and reptiles that inhabit the globe’s tropical regions. The majority are from rainforest ecosystems, although grasslands and desserts are also included. All animals are photographed live and in situ. Each ecosystem type is roughly organized by animal group and paired with an essay. Lengthy and informative captions accompany photos. Not comprehensive (an impossible task), designed to enhance reader’s curiosity about commonly overlooked “smaller majority.” Raises important questions about threats to and extinction rates of these animals. Ends with essay about macro photography useful for wildlife photographers. High production values, six color printing. Highly recommended for all. S.O’M. Radio Tracking and Animal Populations. Joshua J. Millspaugh and John M. Marzluff (Eds.). 2001. Academic Press, Boston, MA. 474 pp. $77.95, hardcover. ISBN 0-12-497781-2. A classic reference for field biologists that synthesizes information on experimental design, analytical techniques, and statistical issues for using radio transmitters for the remote monitoring of animal populations and movements. Chapters focus on experimental design, equipment and technology, animal movement (space use, fidelity, movement paths), resource selection, and demographics (population estimation, survival analysis). Includes an appendix that describes software available for analysis of radio tracking data and equipment vendors and distributors. This book is an important reference for any biologist’s bookshelf. G.M. Wild Solutions. 2nd Ed. Andrew Beattie and Paul Ehrlich, 2004. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 261pp. $16, softcover. ISBN 0300105061. The authors set out to explain “How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank,” delineating natural systems that modern humans would do well to adopt and discussing ways Earth’s biodiversity could be more effectively managed to meet human needs. Grounded in the question: Where might the solution to a given human problem have evolved in the wild? The authors’ ultimate goal is to demonstrate humanity’s biological roots and dependencies and to provide a new perspective from which to examine these connections. Laden with examples of biodiversity, long on detail. Outlines several ecosystems that help sustain humans and introduces concepts like the “natural internet.” Includes further reading and index, no citations. Many black and white illustrations. Utterly fascinating, very readable, recommended. S.O’M. Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History David Christian. 2004. University of California Press, Berkley, CA. 642 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 0520244761. Sweeping in scope. Human history placed in the context of the history of the universe, a story the author, an historian, refers to as a modern creation myth termed “Big History.” Emphasis on the repeating patterns and order of development and physical, biological, social evolution. Dense but readable, with timelines throughout to help orient the reader. Presented as an historical overview without 188 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 1 interpretation. Two appendices, extensive notes, with a bibliography which includes recommended reading, general reference, and works cited. Ambitious but useful for readers interested in the “big picture.” S.O’M. The Ecozones of the World: The Ecological Divisions of the Geosphere. 2nd Edition. Jürgen Schultz. 2002. Springer- Verlag, Berlin. 252 pp. $99, hardcover. ISBN 103540200142. This is a well organized and concise description of the nine major terrestrial regions of the earth. Each region is described in terms of its distribution, climate, soil, relief and drainage, land use, and vegetation and animals. This allows for an easy comparison of salient factors between regions and also allows the reader to readily focus on a particular aspect of interest, such as soil or vegetation types of various regions, etc. Primarily directed at students of geography, this volume should also prove useful to biologists, ecologists, and even travelers who may be interested in the special characteristics of a specific region. This is a useful and practical guide and an excellent introduction to biogeography. S.E. Conservation Finance Handbook: How Communities are Paying for Parks and Land Conservation. Kim Hopper and Ernest Cook. 2004. The Trust For Public Land, San Francisco, CA. 211 pp. $21.95, softcover. ISBN 0967280648. The public has shown that it is willing to pay for land conservation, and this book shows how activists can turn willingness into reality. It details the nuts and bolts of identifying funding sources, assessing public opinion, presenting a proposal for public approval, and running a conservation campaign. Written and published under the auspices of the Trust For Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization with a successful track record of raising several billion dollars for land conservation, this is an essential resource for land trusts and community activists. S.E. In Pursuit of Plants: Experiences of Nineteenth & Early Twentieth Century Plant Collectors. Philip Short. 2003. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 351 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 0881926353. Short presents the writings of 36 of the world’s prominent plant collectors of the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Excerpts from their journals and letters describe the adventures and hardships collectors faced traveling to Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America, Central and South America, and at sea. A brief biographical sketch precedes each first-person account. Illustrated with period botanical plates and modern photographs, this book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the study of natural history, travel, and the age of discovery. Appendices include an explanation of plant names, herbaria, and the development of the Wardian case. Footnotes and a brief index conclude the book. C.R. Archaea: Ancient Microbes, Extreme Environments, and the Origin of Life. Paul Blum (Ed.). 2001. Academic Press, New York, NY. 382 pp. $125.95, hardcover. ISBN 0120026503. A series of essays about the recently recognized group of organisms sharing characteristics of bacteria and eukaryotes called archaea. Having diverged from the evolutionary path of many of the earth’s more common organisms, this group of organisms inhabits many of the earth’s most extreme environments such as hot springs, thermal vents, and oxygen deficient sediments. Contributing authors cover topics in paleobiology, molecular phylogeny, and an extensive section on using archaea as models for eukaryotic processes. Illustrated with numerous tables and figures. References are provided for each chapter and a subject index concludes the volume. Suitable for advanced students and researchers in microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, bacteriology and cell biology. C.R. 2006 Book Reviews 189 Peregrine Falcon: Stories of the Blue Meanie. Jim Enderson. 2005. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 254 pp. $22.95, softcover. ISBN 029270590. Jim Enderson has spent a lifetime studying, training, and breeding peregrine falcons, and was one of the leading experts who helped identify DDT as the cause of their near extinction. This is his highly enjoyable and readable account of the near demise and recovery of the peregrine falcon. Full of anecdotes and personal observations, it tells of the dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance of the many people who helped bring the “blue meanie” back from the brink. The reader learns about the biology and natural history of the bird, about the success of artificial breeding in captivity, and about the bird’s role in the ancient practice of falconry. A well written, accessible, and ultimately uplifting tale of survival. S.E. Animal Tracks and Signs of North America. Richard P. Smith. 1982. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 271pp. $16.95, softcover. ISBN 0811721248 Useful generalist’s guide to tracks of large animals of North America. Not comprehensive with respect to small mammals or birds. Animal descriptions organized primarily by habitat rather than family. Black and white photos of all animals, tracks, and signs covered. Text includes some information on range, brief natural history, description of scat, signs, and tracks, and author’s personal anecdotes. No maps, diagrams, or scientific names. Short but interesting chapters on animal sounds, bird tracks and sounds, techniques of tracking, dating and making plaster casts of tracks. Includes self assessment quiz. A still useful and readable classic. S.O’M. Secret Lives of Common Birds: Enjoying Bird Behavior Through the Seasons. Marie Read. 2005. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 95 pp. $14.95, softcover. ISBN 0618558721 A charming book of wildlife photography and natural history. Organized by season, it focuses on the birds most commonly enjoyed by birders. Each chapter features a different aspect of bird behavior, highlighting several species and matching the text with photographs of the behavior. Lovingly written, yet the particular strength of the book is the photographs. Well suited as a supplemental introductory text for those just learning about birds. Experienced birders will appreciate the photos and pick up a few new facts as well. S.O’M. The Speciation and Biogeography of Birds. Ian Newton. 2003. Academic Press, Boston, MA. 668 pp. $75, hardcover. ISBN 012517375X. Covering the taxonomy, formation, and geographic distribution of bird species, this text is written for advanced students but is also suitable for serious bird watchers. Topics addressed include bird evolution and diversity, major distribution patterns, effects of past climate change, limitation of species distributions, and bird movements. The author integrates the latest information from the fields making up biogeography and incorporates advances in molecular biology that influence our understanding of speciation. Several chapters address each topic. Provides a combined subject and species index, glossary, and extensive reference sections. C.R. Flora of North America. Volume 5: Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, Part 2. 2005. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Eds.). Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, NY. 656 pp. $120, hardcover. This contribution to the Flora of North America includes Caryophyllales, part 2 (pink order), Polygonales (buckwheat order) and Plumbaginales (leadwort order). Covers 74 genera and 740 species, 60 percent of which are endemic to the region of North America north of Mexico. Keys for family, genus, and species are provided. Each species is accompanied by a distribution 190 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 1 map, a general description including synonyms, and specific descriptions of stems, leaves, inflorescences, involucres, flowers, and achenes. At least one line drawing is provided of a representative species for each genera. An extensive literature cited section is included, as well as a combined common and scientific name index. C.R. Forest Canopies. 2nd Edition. Margaret D. Lowman and H. Bruce Rinker (Eds.). Elsevier Academic Press, Boston, MA. 517 pp. $79.95, hardcover. ISBN 0124575536. This edition is completely updated with information from the past ten years, after the first edition was published. Written by more than 50 experts, it examines canopy organisms, processes, structure and function, and conservation. Each chapter is extensively referenced and accompanied by numerous figures and tables. Chapters on structure include quantifying and visualizing structure, vertical organization, development of structure, and history of tree canopies. Among the fascinating organisms examined are the mites and even smaller tardigrades. Lichens and bryophytes, vascular epiphytes, and mistletoes are some of the sessile organisms discussed. As for processes, photosynthesis, insect herbivory, nutrient cycling, reproduction and genetics and decomposition are all explored. The conservation section includes chapters on economics and ecotourism. This text is suitable for scientists, students, policy makers, conservationists, and educators. C.R. Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy, G.M. = Glen Mittelhauser, S.O'M. = Sarah O'Malley, C.R. = Cathy Rees • The North American Benthological Society (NABS) 54th Annual Conference . 4–9 June 2006. Anchorage, AL . Details at: www.benthos.org • 14th International Conference on Environmental Bioindicators and Annual Meeting of the International Society of Environmental Bioindicators and The International Union of Biological Scientists (IUBS) Commission on Bioindicators. April 24-26, 2006. The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute. Linthicum, MD. Details at: www.tfilearning.com. The Southeastern Naturalist welcomes proposals of brief announcements for its new, free Natural History Science Announcements section. The categories are as follows: Conferences and symposia. Please limit the listing to the event name, dates, organization where the event will be held, city and state/province, and website or e-mail address. Research grants. Please limit the listing to the grant title, sponsoring organization, deadline for applications, and website or e-mail address. Full time faculty positions which require a significant natural history research background. Please limit the listing to the postion title and natural history specialization, college or university, city and state/province, deadline for applications, and website or e-mail address. Graduate student and postdoctoral research fellowships. Please limit the listing to the fellowship title, college or university, city and state/province, deadline for applications, and website or e-mail address. Announcements should be of interest to people with career interests in the natural history sciences. They should be sent only by e-mail to: SENAlistings@eaglehill.us by February 20th, May 20th, August 20th, or November 20th. Journal issues mail just over one month later. Announcements will be reviewed prior to acceptance for content and timing of the announcement, and will be accepted at the sole discretion of the Editors, given the limited space allocation for announcements within the Journal. Natural History Science Announcements