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Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 4, 2006

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 5, Number 4 (2006): 757–762

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2006 Book Reviews 757 757 Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 5/4, 2006 Galápagos: A Natural History. John Kricher. 2006. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 221 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 13: 978069112633X. The diversity of life found on the Galápagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and today, this remote archipelago is a popular paradise for naturalists and eco-tourists. This book, written by a Galápagos ecotour guide who is also a respected ecologist, tells the story of the geological and natural history of these islands, as well as of the unique wildlife that calls them home. Throughout, references are made to Darwin, his voyage on the Beagle, and his revolutionary theory. This book will appeal to a broad audience, including students of biology and evolution, and those who dream of visiting the Galápagos. With a detailed island-by-island guide, this book will be especially valuable for those who will be visiting there. Scholarly but easy to understand, and with a center section of color photos, this is an enjoyable and informative book. Selected references are included with each chapter. S.E. The Rise of Placental Mammals: Origins and Relationships of the Major Extant Clades. Kenneth D. Rose and J. David Archibald. 2005. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 259 pp. $95, hardcover. ISBN 080188022X. Presenting the evolutionary history of placental mammals, the authors include recent evidence and theories that represent the majority and many minority views. The text is based on a symposium on placental evolution held at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2002. The first chapter addresses the major interests of George Gaylord Simpson, a pioneer in the field, followed by several chapters that examine evolution from an anatomical and a molecular viewpoint. Eleven chapters, organized by order as defined by molecular evidence, examine the evolution of the extinct and extant members of the various clades. Many black and white photographs, figures, and tables enhance the text. Each chapter is individually referenced, and an index of taxa and terms is provided. C.R. Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity. Elliot A. Norse and Larry B. Crowder (Eds.). With a foreword by Michael E. Soulé. 2005. Island Press, Washington, DC. 470 pp. $49.95, softcover. ISBN 1559636629. This text provides a broad conceptual and scientific framework for discussing and examining issues pertaining to the conservation of marine resources. It is part of a larger effort, aptly named as mission-oriented scholarship, that seeks to provide scientific knowledge for conservation efforts, and it is motivated by the awareness that many marine animals and ecosystems are threatened by human activity. The book is divided into five sections, each with several chapters by marine scientists discussing topics pertaining to basic concepts of marine populations, marine biological diversity, the threats posed by fisheries, management of marine reserves and ecosystems, and sociological and legal issues. With a focus that includes solutions as well as problems, this book is a timely and valuable reference for students, scientists, and conservationists. S.E. State of the Wild 2006: A Global Portrait of Wildlife, Wildlands, and Oceans. Sharon Guynup (Ed.). 2005. Island Press, Washington, DC. 326 pp. $25, softcover. ISBN 1597260010. The first in a series of volumes sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society that examine the state of wildlife and wildlands impacted by human activity and the conservation efforts to mitigate those effects. This inaugural edition presents a sobering assessment of how hunting has decimated 758 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.4 wildlife populations on every continent and in every ocean. Filled with facts and figures, and with contributions by leading scientists, conservationists, and world-renowned writers, this book is both alarming and inspiring. No one can remain complacent after reading this book; the problems are real and they threaten our very existence, but the stories of successful conservation efforts give hope that we can still preserve what remains. Future editions in this series are sure to be eagerly anticipated. S.E. Algae: Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Biotechnology. Laura Barsanti and Paolo Gualtieri. 2006. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL. 301 pp. $119.95, hardcover. ISBN 0849314674. This is a broad overview of the biology of algae, with an emphasis on microalgae, although macroalgae are also discussed. Not intended to be comprehensive, this text is nonetheless packed with information on the general biology, anatomy, phylogeny, biochemistry, and culture of algae. Freshwater, marine, and terrestrial forms are discussed, and the text is supplemented with over 200 line drawings and photographs. The chapters on algal culturing, working with light, and biotechnological and food uses of algae provide practical information and an excellent demonstration of the application of scientific knowledge. Highly recommended for students and experts alike, with carefully selected references from both the current and the classic literature. S.E. Symmorphosis: On Form and Function in Shaping Life. Ewald R. Weibel. 2000. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 263 pp. $54.95, hardcover. ISBN 0674000684. The idea that form must match function in animals seems obvious, but trying to quantify this relationship is not as intuitive. In this book, Ewald Eibel demonstrates that this can be done, but it makes for some highly technical and complex writing. As such, this book will be of interest primarily to those with an advanced understanding of biology, particularly anatomy and physiology. Some readers may disagree with his emphasis on genetic factors as the primary determinant of form, as opposed to environmental factors. Nonetheless, his conclusions are strongly supported by scientific evidence, and his quantitative approach demonstrates that much of the diversity we see in life is essentially variation on a common blueprint. The text is supported with many drawings, photographs, and charts, and includes references and suggestions for further reading. S.E. 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. An essential book for marine mammal researchers, oceanographers, regulators, and those called to help in the effort to save marine mammals from extinction. S.E. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 3rd Edition. Don E. Wilson and DeeAnn M. Reeder (Eds.). 2005. The Johns Hopkins 2006 Book Reviews 759 University Press, Baltimore, MD. 743 pp. $125, hardcover. ISBN 0801882214. This is a handsomely bound two-volume checklist of all of the world's known mammal species. Due to taxonomic revision and the discovery and description of new species, this 3rd edition has 787 more listings than the 2nd edition, for a total of 5416 species. The format consists of the scientific name, followed by the common name, type locality, distribution, status as endangered or threatened, synonyms (previous scientific names), and comments relating to taxonomy. There are no descriptions or life-history details; this is purely a taxonomic and geographic reference. A must-have text for any professional mammalogist, and a useful and authoritative reference for scientists and students in other disciplines. Extensively referenced to the literature. S.E. Kepler’s Witch: An Astronomer’s Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother. James A. Connor. 2004. HarperCollins, New York, NY. 402 pp. $24.95, hardcover. ISBN 0060522550. Johannes Kepler was one of the great, early astronomers and mathematicians whose work and insights made possible Isaac Newton’s discoveries. Working in the early 1600s, just before the bloody Thirty Years’ War and in an atmosphere of religious upheaval and superstition, Kepler was a devout Lutheran who saw Gods’ order in the laws of planetary motion and the science of optics. This fascinating story of one of the founding figures of science begins with the trial of Kepler’s mother for witchcraft. More than a biography, this book tells the story of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and the struggle to reconcile the findings of science with religious dogma. Using historical records and Kepler’s diary entries and correspondence, James Connor gives a vivid portrayal of a great scientist and man of moral conviction, as well as providing a window into a tumultuous and eventful period in European history. S.E. Human Impact on Amazonia: The Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Conservation and Development. Darrell Addison Posey and Michael J. Balick (Eds.). 2006. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 392 pp. $74.50, hardcover. ISBN 0231105886. The Amazon basin has had a long history of human habitation and impact; it is estimated that at the time of the first European contact in the 1500s, there were already 5-7 million people living there. This collection of twenty contributions from ethnobotanists, anthropologists, environmental scientists, and others shows how historic and contemporary human activities have made the Amazon what it is today. It highlights the need for collaboration with indigenous Amazonians and respect for local values if we are to avoid outright destruction of the ecology of this unique and important region. This is a technically oriented text, referenced to the scientific literature, and requiring some background in the issues and science for full comprehension. Of great value to anyone interested in policies influencing the future of the Amazon basin. S.E. Sea Turtles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. Carol Ruckdeschel and Robert R. Spotila. 2006. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 136 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 0820326143. This general and well illustrated guide provides a concise but well rounded education in the biology and conservation of six species of sea turtles. Beautiful color photographs of the turtles in their natural environment are supplemented with line drawings showing identifying details of anatomical features of adults and juveniles. The text provides life-history details and discusses the conservation issues for each species. A key is included to allow for accurate identification of either whole or partial specimens. 760 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.4 This guide will be enjoyed by anyone interested in learning more about these ancient and charismatic creatures. S.E. Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy: An Introduction. Sahotra Sarkar. 2005. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. 258 pp. $75, hardcover. ISBN 0521851327. This book is primarily concerned with the philosophical problems raised by the use of adaptive management as a framework for the new science of conservation biology, which has the explicit goal of conserving biodiversity. It presents an anthropocentric justification for environmental ethics, rather than arguing from a position of intrinsic worth. Epistemological issues are given equal weight with environmental ethics, making this text unique in its’ emphasis. The author’s purpose is to stimulate discussion and frame questions, rather than to pose a definitive environmental philosophy. The essays in the first half of the book concern ethical rationales for biodiversity conservation, with the second half being an examination of epistemological issues. This text will be an important reference for anyone concerned with the rationale and ethical necessity of environmental conservation efforts. S.E. Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins. Jeanette A. Thomas, Cynthia F. Moss, and Marianne Vater (Eds.). 2004. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 604 pp. $45, softcover. ISBN 0226795993. This is a thorough and upto- date compilation of 72 contributions by international experts on bioacoustic signaling in bats and dolphins. The six major sections of the book cover how sonar signals are made, auditory systems, performance and cognition, ecological and evolutionary aspects, echolocation theory and analyses, and the possibility of echolocation abilities in other mammals. With many illustrations, graphs, charts, and figures, this is a text by scientists and for scientists. The great value of this effort lies in the fact that it combines research on two very different groups of animals into one single volume, giving scientists from either field a resource for comparing their differences and similarities. Well referenced to the literature, and a valuable reference for anyone working in this area. S.E. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. William F. Perrin, Bernd Würsig, and J.G.M. Thewissen (Eds.). 2002. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. 1414 pp. $149.95, hardcover. ISBN 0125513402. This massive volume covers all aspects of marine mammals, with the topics alphabetically arranged for ease of use. The 283 articles contained here were expressly commissioned for this volume, and represent the most scientifically accurate and current science available on marine mammals. The encyclopedia is generously illustrated with photographs (including 16 pages of color plates), anatomical line drawings, charts, and figures. It is extensively referenced to the scientific literature, with approximately 3000 bibliography entries, and the appendix includes biographies of famous scientists and a definitive listing of all known marine mammals. This text is sure to be an invaluable reference on marine mammals for a large audience of researchers, students at all levels, and the general public. S.E. On the Origin of Phyla. James W. Valentine. 2004. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 614 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN 022684594. This ambitious and important text was inspired by Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s work, findings from the fields of molecular biology, embryology, paleontology, and other biological sciences have confirmed his theory on how species evolved, and have provided a foundation that allows Valentine to examine and explain how phyla have evolved. Most of 2006 Book Reviews 761 todays’ life forms first appeared during the “Cambrian explosion”, which took place over 500 million years ago. The three main sections of this volume cover the evidence of the origins of these metazoan phyla, a description of the phyla, and an examination of their evolutionary development. This book is a crowning achievement that is already a classic. S.E. The Grail Bird: The Rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Tim Gallagher. 2005. Houghton Mifflin Co., NY 286 pp. $14.95, softcover. ISBN 061870941X. A dramatic firs-hand account of the year and a half leading up to the announcement of the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the swamp forest of Arkansas. The author was one of the original researchers involved in the arduous field work leading to confirmation that the species was not extinct. Provides play-by-play detail of all developments and sightings of that time period. Additionally highlights the most neglected landscape in America: southern bottomland hardwood forests, habitat for the Ivorybilled Woodpecker. An excellent story of science in progress and of the careful considerations those who care deeply about the bird made before revealing its existence. Once started, it is difficult to put down. Recommended for all. S.O'M. Florida Keys Wildflowers: A Field Guide to Wildflowers, Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Florida Keys. Roger L. Hammer. 2004. Globe Pequot Press, Guildford, CT. 231 pp. $23.95, softcover. ISBN 0762725699. Useful visual guide to Florida Key wildflowers. Species descriptions include a full color photo of the flower, identification would be best done from the photo and flowering- season information given. Organized by flower color, not taxonomic group. Includes translations and explanations of Latin names for the specific purpose of helping those unfamiliar with Latin names understand their origins. Useful for identification, but readers would have to seek additional information about species or family elsewhere. Interesting introduction and description of native plant communities. Recommended for Key residents or visitors. S.O'M. A Land Imperiled: The Declining Health of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion. John Holt, 2005 University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville TN, 435 pp. $26.95 softcover, ISBN 157233326X. An unflinching catalogue of environmental problems on the Southeastern Appalachian bioregion, organized around the Smoky mountains and the drainage of the Tennessee River. Treats problems chapter by chapter, with an especially interesting chapter on food-related issues specific to Southern Appalachia. Offers several models for sustainability and ends with future prospects. An excellent resource for any one living in the region; useful as reference or text book. Recommended. S.O'M. A Handbook for Stream Enhancement and Stewardship. Second Edition. The Izaak Walton League of America. 2006. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Co., Blacksburg Virginia 178 pp. $34.95, softcover. ISBN 093992398X. A complete guide to evaluating stream and watershed health. Designed for community groups with little hydrological expertise who are nonetheless concerned about surface water quality. Topics include an overview of stream system basics, watershed assessment and site inventories, and stream enhancement techniques. An additional chapter is devoted to rangeland and pasture issues. 19 appendices. Full of specific, practical advice and additional resources. Guides reader through advanced stream restoration techniques. An invaluable book for community watershed groups. Highly recommended. S.O'M. Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology. Eric Katz, Andrew Light, and David 762 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No.4 Rothenberg (Eds.). 2000. MIT Press, Cambridge MA 328 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 026261149X. Collection of essays exploring the philosophical aspects of foundations of Deep Ecology. Not a policy book. Generally emphasizes and builds on the works of Arne Naess, with some critique. Especially interesting section deals with new directions for Deep Ecology and includes essays on links between Deep Ecology and non western spiritual traditions. Provides an outside perspective on the movement and analysis of Deep Ecology as a philosophical position. Like most academic works of philosophy, this is not for the general reader. Dense bibliography. Useful collection for those interested in the philosophical underpinnings of environmentalism and students of and adherents to Deep Ecology. S.O'M. The Indiana Bat: Biology and Management of an Endangered Species. Allen Kurta and Jim Kennedy (Eds.). 2002. Bat Conservation International, Austin TX 253 pp. $17.00, softcover. No ISBN. A collection of scientific papers and previously unpublished studies from 2001 symposium on the Indiana Bat. Includes studies on status and distribution, summer and winter habitat, day roosts, ecology and behavior, and effects of pollution. All studies are of Indiana Bat, an endangered species, but may hold applicable information for other bat species. Discussions of management and policy are limited to discussions in scientific papers. A straight forward collection. Useful for anyone studying bats or involved in bat conservation. Includes CD with digital versions of all papers. S.O'M. Lowly Origin: Where, When, and Why Our Ancestors First Stood Up. Jonathan Kingdon. 2003. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 396 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 0691120285. A work of popular science that examines human evolution with particular emphasis on discovering the conditions that drove the development of erect bipedalism. Puts forth the theory that the mechanism of change was adaptation to new forest type with more terrestrial feeding. Anatomy that enabled ground squatting and foraging was the precursor to bepedalism in author’s view. Sees ecology and biogeography as important factors, particularly with respect to isolation of populations. Relates human evolution to other vertebrates as well. Concludes with an essay on greater implications of the future of humanity. Enhanced by inclusion of the author’s own black and white drawings and paintings illustrating concepts and significant steps in hominid evolution. Referenced by chapter. Readable and personable; of interest to general reader as well as those who follow competing theories of human evolution. S.O'M. Reconnecting with John Muir: Essays in Post Pastoral Practice. Terry Gifford. 2006. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA 201 pp. $39.95, cloth. ISBN 0820327964. A multifaceted book that adds to a growing body of literary ecocriticism. Author is a John Muir scholar as well as professor and mountaineer. The work introduces author’s theory of the “post pastoral” in literary criticism and environmental awareness. Examines the writings of John Muir through a post pastoral lense. Makes analysis of several newer writers including Rick Bass, Rebecca Solnit and Charles Frazier. Includes discussion of mountaineering and climbing literature. Especially practical chapter on teaching environmentalism through writing. Punctuated by 12 original poems directed from the author to John Muir. A strange and somewhat difficult book. Sufficiently abstract to dissuade the general reader. Meant for those in the scholarly or ecocriticism field. Includes 3 appendices and extensive bibliography. S.O'M. Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy, C.R. = Cathy Rees, S.O'M.= Sarah O'Malley