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Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 3, 2006

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 3 (2006): 566–572

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566 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.3 566 Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 5/3, 2006 Marine Mammal Research: Conservation Beyond Crisis. John E. Reynolds III, William F. Perrin, Randall R. Reeves, Suzanne Montgomery, and Timothy J. Ragen (Eds.). 2005. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 223 pp. $50, hardcover. ISBN 0801882559. With contributions from leading scientists, and edited by a team of accomplished marine mammal experts, this text provides an upto- date assessment of the threats facing marine mammals. Major threats, discussed in separate chapters, include fisheries bycatch, infectious disease, environmental contaminants, algal blooms, and anthropogenic sound. Recommendations for further research and mitigation efforts are proposed. Looking beyond the threats, the contributors map out a scientifically based plan for recovery of marine mammal populations, and argue for a more proactive approach to marine mammal protection that identifies and mitigates potential threats before they have an adverse effect. This is an essential book for marine mammal researchers, oceanographers, regulators, and anyone called to help in the effort to save marine mammals from extinction. S.E. 100 Caterpillars: Portraits From the Tropical Forests of Costa Rica. Jeffery C. Miller, Daniel H. Janzen, and Winifred Hallwachs. 2006. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 264 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 0674021908. This volume combines art and science, presenting 100 full-page color photographs of an amazing diversity of caterpillars in the first half of the book, followed by short essays on the known ecology, biology, and behavior of the caterpillars and the butterflies they become in the second half. S.E. A Guide to the Birds of the Southeastern States: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. John H. Rappole. 2006. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 366 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 0813028612. Touted as the only singlesource reference to the birds of the southeastern United States, this guide provides information on 376 species of birds, with 420 color photos and 379 maps. It lacks an identification key, and this, combined with the fact that the photos are small and the birds often blend in with their background, makes it of limited use for identification purposes. However, the succinct species descriptions, which include habitat preference, range, abundance and distribution, vocalizations, and other identifying features, all provide essential information for birders and naturalists. A useful reference for anyone with an interest in the birds of this region. S.E. Mammals From the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, Richard L. Cifelli, and Zhe-Xi Luo. 2004. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 630 pp. $195, hardcover. ISBN 0231119186. This is a text-book sized volume, with many drawings of skeletal structures and teeth, that draws upon the fossil record to provide the most up-to-date and complete picture of Mesozoic mammalian evolution since the last major work on the subject in 1979. Five years in the making, this text is comprehensive and based on a large body of published scientific work. The first four chapters are of a general nature, dealing with aspects of the origin, evolution, and distribution of mammals. The next ten chapters then closely examine the systematics of the major groups of Mesozoic mammals, with a final chapter on phylogenetic relationships. This is a valuable synthesis of what is known about early mammals, and it will undoubtedly become the classic reference on the subject. Of particular interest to professional mammalogists and students. S.E. 2006 Book Reviews 567 Freshwater Fishes of Mexico. Robert Rush Miller, with the collaboration of W.L. Minckley and Steven Mark Norris. 2005. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 490 pp. $75, hardcover. ISBN 0226526046. This volume is the life’s work of Robert Rush Miller, who spent more than 50 years studying the fishes of Mexico’s inland waters. Altogether, more than 500 species are included in this encyclopedia of Mexican ichthyology. It is extensively illustrated with black-and-white photographs, color plates, line drawings, and maps, and contains family and species keys for identification. Early chapters provide fascinating and informative accounts of the environments of Mexico, historical ichthyogeography, and a history of ichthyology in Mexico. Species accounts include life-history details, abundance and distribution, and additional remarks on related species. This is a valuable contribution to fisheries science that is sure to become a standard and widely used reference. S.E. Tropical Forest Ecology: The Basis for Conservation and Management. Florencia Montagnini and Carl F. Jordan. 2005. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 295 pp. $169, hardcover. ISBN 3540237976. This is a much needed textbook on the causes of tropical deforestation and the forestry techniques needed for management and restoration. Thousands of research studies in the past 30 years have shown that tropical forests are more susceptible to disturbance than temperate forests, but much of the forestry techniques that are relied upon for management have been based on research done in temperate forests. This text addresses this issue by compiling evidence of the unique nature of tropical ecosystems, and examining what this means for sound and sustainable forestry management. Major sections address the importance, characteristics, classification, deforestation, and management of tropical forests, as well as the issues behind plantation and agroforestry systems. The concluding section discusses approaches for sustainable management of tropical forests. This book will be a useful management resource for foresters or a supplementary text for those studying tropical rainforest ecology. S.E. The Florida Manatee: Biology and Conservation. Roger L. Reep and Robert K. Bonde. 2006. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 189 pp. $34.95, hardcover. ISBN 081302949X. Written by two long-time manatee researchers, this book is a detailed account of what is known about this unique and mysterious marine mammal. These large and placid herbivores have been listed as an endangered species for over 25 years, and much of what is known of their biology has been discovered in that time. This book discusses manatee evolution, biology, the unique aspects of their physiology, and the complexities of their long-distance migrations. The discussion of manatee brains and behavior is fascinating and detailed, as one of the authors is a neuroscientist. Aspects of conservation and human interactions with manatees are also discussed. The text is accessible to nonprofessionals and is well augmented with color photographs, maps, and line drawings. S.E. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest. William E. Duellman. 2005. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 433 pp. $74.95, hardcover. ISBN 0801439973. The rainforests of the Amazon Basin are home to an amazing diversity of plant and animal life, much of which has only recently been described. In this lavishly illustrated volume, 151 species of Amazonian amphibians and reptiles are described in detail by a scientist who has spent much of his career studying the herpetofauna of this region. Identification keys are supplemented with 236 color plates and 42 line drawings, including many of tadpoles, as well as 568 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.3 maps, charts, and graphs. Many of the species described here are restricted to very specific habitats; others have a wide distribution. Community ecology, reproduction, feeding behavior, and other lifehistory details are discussed for each species, including, for the frogs and toads, a description of their vocalizations. A crowning achievement and a lasting record of a unique but threatened ecosystem. S.E. Arthropods of Tropical Forests: Spatio-temporal Dynamics and Resource Use in the Canopy. Yves Basset, Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, and Roger L. Kitching (Eds.). 2003. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 474 pp. $130, hardcover. ISBN 0521820006. The contributions in this text expose the reader to a broad range of insect-related topics and a diversity of tropical habitats worldwide. The information presented here by 79 authors represents some of the most recent research on tropical forest canopy insect assemblages, and patterns of spatial and temporal distribution, resource use, and host specificity. This is a scholarly, scientific text, well referenced to the literature, and with many charts and graphs, but with few photographs. It will be an important and valuable resource for community ecologists, entomologists, botanists, and any researcher working in the tropical rainforests. S.E. Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life. Niles Eldredge. 2005. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, NY. 256 pp. $35, hardcover. ISBN 0393059669. It took Darwin twenty years to fully formulate his theory of natural selection and present it to the public. This book presents the story of Darwin’s intellectual and philosophical journey from the time of his lifechanging voyage on the Beagle to the publication of his world-changing theory in On the Origin of Species. Eldridge is a respected evolutionary biologist, as well as curator of the recent (2005–06) American Museum of Natural History exhibit on Darwin. He presents a compelling defense of evolution that is especially relevant today in the face of renewed attempts by creationists to impose their religiously based anti-Darwinian views as scientific theory in public classrooms. Darwin recognized the challenge his theory posed to religious beliefs, while remaining a spiritually devout man. Based on his journal and notebook writings, this book presents a well written and insightful examination of the man and his theory. S.E. Tropical Forests: Regional Paths of Destruction and Regeneration in the Late Twentieth Century. Thomas K. Rudel. 2005. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 231 pp. $32.50, softcover. ISBN 023113195X. A worldwide tour of the changes that have occurred to tropical rain forests in the past twenty years, with regional-level analyses of the historical, social, economic, and environmental factors contributing to losses and restoration. From Central America and the Caribbean, to the Amazon Basin, and on to the jungles of Africa and South Asia, Rudel chronicles the story of large-scale destruction and attempts at regeneration. He uses scientific accounts and the stories of people directly involved with the fate of the rainforests to make an argument for the use of a regional approach to analyzing the causes of rainforest destruction. Relevant to anyone with an interest in patterns of land use and change. S.E. Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life. Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb. 2005. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 462 pp. $34.95, hardcover. ISBN 0262101076. For over fifty years, scientific understanding of Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been based on a gene-centered, mechanistic view. This book pre2006 Book Reviews 569 sents a major challenge to this paradigm, where the gene, though still of prime importance, is joined by three other inheritance systems that the authors believe have strongly shaped natural selection, particularly in Homo sapiens. In their view, epigenetic (non-DNA) transmission of traits, behavioral learning, and symbol-based inheritance (language) are elements in a complex system that have interacted with genes to shape human biology and evolution. This means that we can become active participants in the evolution of our own species, ultimately guiding our biological evolution in a desired direction. This is a major paradigm shift that has and will continue to generate debate on an important topic. Written in a lively and engaging style, this book is a must read for any serious student of evolutionary theory. S.E. Mammals From the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, Richard L. Cifelli, and Zhe-Xi Luo. 2004. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 630 pp. $195, hardcover. ISBN 0231119186. This is a text-book sized volume, with many drawings of skeletal structures and teeth, that draws upon the fossil record to provide the most up-to-date and complete picture of Mesozoic mammalian evolution since the last major work on the subject in 1979. Five years in the making, this text is comprehensive and based on a large body of published scientific work. The first four chapters are of a general nature, dealing with aspects of the origin, evolution, and distribution of mammals. The next ten chapters then closely examine the systematics of the major groups of Mesozoic mammals, with a final chapter on phylogenetic relationships. This is a valuable synthesis of what is known about early mammals, and it will undoubtedly become the classic reference on the subject. Of particular interest to professional mammalogists and students. S.E. Wildflowers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians. Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart. 2005. Lone Pine Publishing, Auburn, WA. 496 pp. $22.95, softcover. ISBN 1551054280. Over 1250 plant species are featured and arranged phylogenetically by family. A color key, consisting of thumbnail photographs of flowers arranged by color, can be useful for quick reference. Dichotomous keys are provided for 12 plant families: buttercup, mustard, heath, saxifrage, rose, pea, parsley, mint, figwort, aster, lily, and orchid. Each plant entry includes a color photograph, a general description, a description of leaf arrangement, flower type, bloom period, fruit type, and habitat, and a list of similar species. Notes concluding each entry include information about how the plant got its name (scientific or common), medicinal uses, and invasiveness. A glossary with line drawings and a combined index for common and scientific names conclude this handy field guide. C.R. On Bobwhites. Fred S. Guthery. 2006. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 213 pp. $18.95, softcover. ISBN 13: 9781585445387. Quail have been a favorite game bird for hundreds of years, and as a result, they have been much studied by scientists and naturalists. This book pulls together the author’s research and a large body of research done by other scientists to provide information on virtually every aspect of bobwhite quail biology and management. A wide range of topics are presented here, including bobwhite evolution, vocalizations, breeding, disease, predation, management issues, habitat, and more. Guthery, a leading expert on this species, focuses much of his work on the Southwest, but the information is general enough to be applied to bobwhite quail populations wherever they are found. This is not a technical, scholarly text with cited references, but rather an accessible and practical book written for hunters and wildlife 570 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.3 managers. Informative, useful, and easy to understand. S.E. Birds of Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Field Guide. Ernest Preston Edwards. 2006. The McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, VA. 141 pp. $19.95, softcover. Covering 336 species, this region-specific guide is convenient and packable. Color images illustrate male and female adult plumage for most species. Habitat preferences, resident or transient status, and additional descriptive or geographic notes are provided for each. Birds that may be seen occasionally or rarely in the region are shown in a special section. A list of stray or accidental species, a checklist, and an index to the common names are also provided. This is a good book for a beginning observer in this region. C.R. Birds of the Carolinas. Second Edition. Eloise f. Potter, James F. Parnell, Robert P. Teulings, and Ricky Davis. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 416 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 0807856711. This standard reference book covers 460 species that have been recorded in the two states since 1900. Each entry details the bird’s range including recent reports of sightings outside the reported range, nesting habits, feeding habits, and a description that highlights identifying characteristics. A color photograph accompanies most. An extensive section describing bird habitats and typical species will be helpful to the beginner. The authors also mention specific locations for bird watching in this section. A glossary, list of further reading , and index to common name conclude the guide. C.R. Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands. William Balée and Clark L. Erickson. 2006. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 417 pp. $80, hardcover. ISBN 0231135629. An exploration of people and their interaction with the landscapes they inhabit beginning with the Holocene period and going through the present with implications for the future. Areas addressed include genetic modification of plant and animal species, landscape engineering, agricultural experimentation, fire history, linguistic development, and material culture, to name a few. The geographic range of the text includes tropical portions of central and south America and is limited to lands lower than 500 meters elevation, usually heavily forested. A few of the topics explored are fruit trees in Amazonia, political economy in Central Amazonia, domesticated landscapes of the Bolivian Amazon, and microvertebrate synecology in the forested neotropics. Notes and references are provided for each of the twelve chapters, and an index concludes the text. C.R. Reconstructing Earth: Technology and Environment in the Age of Humans. Braden Allenby. 2005. Island Press, Washington, DC. 201 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 1597260150. In this set of essays, Braden asks why, if polls show that a majority of people worldwide are concerned about the environment, so little progress has been made on ratifying treaties and laws designed to protect the environment? He examines the evolution, and lack thereof, of the environmental movement since the 1970s, arguing that some of the early strategies and approaches adopted by the movement may be obsolete and dysfunctional. Throughout, he offers a way forward, an approach that embraces complexity, technological innovation, and systems engineering. Ultimately, he rejects the notion that we can return to a pristine state of nature. We have created an anthropogenic world, one in which we are so intertwined with our environment that we are called upon to utilize an “earth systems engineering and management capability” to achieve our environmental objectives. S.E. 2006 Book Reviews 571 The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos. Robert P. Kirshner. 2002. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 291 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 06911742X. In this enjoyable account of a research team's quest to understand the nature of the universe, Kirshner gives the reader an insider's view of cutting-edge atronomy. He provides both the historical background and the scientific basics of cosmic change to set the stage and place the work in a meaningful context. The writing style is relaxed and approachable, making complex topics understandable to those outside the field without oversimplifying them. Kirshner also instills the book with a sense of the personalities involved and the drama felt by him and his colleagues as the evidence they gather leads them to some fascinating and startling revelations about the origins and fate of the universe we live in. Black and white and color photos and figures throughout complement the text. Detailed notes provided for each chapter direct the reader where to go for more information about particular points and topics. Highly recommended. K.G. Arthropods of Tropical Forests: Spatio-temporal Dynamics and Resource Use in the Canopy. Yves Basset, Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, and Roger L. Kitching (Eds.). 2003. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 474 pp. $130, hardcover. ISBN 0521820006. The contributions in this text expose the reader to a broad range of insect-related topics and a diversity of tropical habitats worldwide. The information presented here by 79 authors represents some of the most recent research on tropical forest canopy insect assemblages, patterns of spatial and temporal distribution, resource use, and host specificity. This is a scholarly, scientific text, well referenced to the literature, and with many charts and graphs but few photographs. It will be an important and valuable resource for community ecologists, entomologists, botanists, and any researcher working in the tropical rainforests. S.E. Nature-Friendly Communities: Habitat Protection and Land Use Planning. Christopher Duerksen and Cara Snyder. 2005. Island Press, Washington, DC. 421 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 1559638656. In communities all across the United States, local citizens have shown their commitment to conservation and a healthy environment by embracing public policy that encourages protection of farmland, wildlife habitat, water resources, and more. This optimistic, can-do book details the success of communities as diverse as Eugene, OR and Sanibel Island, FL at fostering the growth of communities that live in harmony with their local ecosystems, rather than at odds with it. The case studies presented here show the many benefits of nature-friendly communities and provide examples of how other communities can join this growing trend. This is an inspiring book with information that is practical, useful, and above all, timely. S.E. Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth. Marcia Bjornerud. 2005. Westview Press, Cambridge, MA. 237 pp. $26, softcover. ISBN 081334249X. This text is a superbly written overview, from a geologist's perspective, of the planet we live on. Bjornerud's beautiful prose make this book both a literary and scientific standout. She gives the reader a lot of solid information about the planetary structure and processes that have created and continue to shape the earth, and does it in a way that instills a deep sense of wonder and respect for the world we live in. The geologic evidence and the tools scientists use to intrerpet them are clearly presented. The important role of biological processes in the earth's development is explained along with the implications of humans’ growing global impact. Scientific terms explained in the glossary are 572 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.3 bold formatted the first time they are mentioned in the text, a helpful feature for those without a geology background. Detailed notes provided for each chapter direct the reader where to go for more information about particular points and topics. Highly recommended. K.G. The Tangled Field: Barbara McClintock’s Search for the Patterns of Genetic Control. Nathaniel C. Comfort. 2001. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 337 pp. $43.95, softcover. ISBN 0674011082. A biography of Nobel Prize winning geneticist Barbara McClintock. Comfort sets out to dismantle a number of myths surrounding this innovative female scientist who studied corn genetics and discovered that genes were transposable. He does this through a chronology organized thematically. Two chapters are devoted to her first forty years in which she used a low power lens, and the following three recount her life and discoveries with a high power lens and her ideas about pattern and control. He concludes with several chapters that recount the reception her ideas about controlling elements received and the accolades she received for her discovery of transposable elements instead. Extensive notes are provided. C.R. Maine Mosses, Sphagnaceae– Timmiaceae. Bruce Allen. 2005. The New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 419 pp. $75, hardcover. A brief introduction describes history, climate, physiography and history of moss collectors in the state. A key to the genera of mosses relies on Crum (1983) and borrows from Ireland (1983) and Vitt and Buck (1992). Each of the 23 families is given a general description followed by keys to the species of individual genera. Species descriptions include naming authority and synonyms. A detailed description of the species and notes about habitat and references to collections from each county in Maine are provided. Notes about taxonomy and easily confused species complete each entry. Illustrations of distinctive characters are large and clear. A literature cited section and an index to scientific names conclude the volume. An indespensible reference for folks serious about the study of mosses in this region. C.R. Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Human- environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems. Emilio F. Moran and Elinor Ostrom (Eds.). 2005. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 442 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN 0262134535. With the goal of providing literature covering fundamental concepts of land use and land cover, this text was developed for teachers and students of how the physical and social sciences interact within the forest ecosystem. It presents findings from a large-scale research project that includes scientist from the disciplines of anthropology, biology, economics, and sociology to name a few. Work taking place in twelve countries at over eighty locations is reported. The text is divided into five sections: human-environment interactions and introduction and theories, conceptual foundations of human-environment analyses, methods for studying land use change, case studies, and an epilogue outlining new directions in research. A glossary, list of references, and index are provided. C.R. Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy, C.R. = Cathy Rees, K.G. = Keith Goldfarb Suggestions of books for the book review section are welcome. Please send title, author, and publisher information, as well as publication date and ISBN number to Fred Olday at fred@eaglehill.us. Thank you!