Eagle Hill Masthead



Southeastern Naturalist
    SENA Home
    Range and Scope
    Board of Editors
    Staff
    Editorial Workflow
    Publication Charges
    Subscriptions

Other EH Journals
    Northeastern Naturalist
    Caribbean Naturalist
    Urban Naturalist
    Eastern Paleontologist
    Eastern Biologist
    Journal of the North Atlantic

EH Natural History Home

  Help

About Southeastern Naturalist

 

Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 6, Number 1, 2007

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 6, Number 1 (2007): 187–190

Full-text pdf (Accessible only to subscribers.To subscribe click here.)

 

Site by Bennett Web & Design Co.
2007 Book Reviews 187 187 Book Reviews of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 6/1, 2007 Zoro’s Field: My life in the Appalachian Woods. Thomas Rain Crowe. 2005. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 221 pp. $16.95, hardcover. ISBN 0820327344. Returning to a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, Crowe relates experiences, observations and insights gained during his four years of living a simple and isolated life. Crowe reflects on the everyday chores of living off the land and living in the moment in 23 essays. Titles like the Wild Work, The Pacifist and the Hunter, the New Naturalists, and When Legends Die captivate the reader. Crowe’s reflections, while made under circumstances many of us shall never experience, are all the more valid for our lives in the high-tech world in which we live. C.R. Darwin’s Mentor: John Stevens Henslow, 1796-1861. S.M. Walters and E.A Stow. 2001. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 338 pp. $80, hardcover. ISBN 0521591465. As Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, John Stevens Henslow was Darwin’s favorite teacher, and became an important mentor to Darwin and a valued and life-long friend. This biography of Henslow draws on previously unpublished material and Darwin’s own correspondence to illuminate the life of a remarkable and likable academic, who made a lasting mark on both Darwin and Cambridge University. This is a lively and interesting account of Henslow and his times that succeeds in also shedding light on the intellectual development of Darwin. It is illustrated throughout with photographs, maps, line drawings, and color plates. An enjoyable read, of interest both to academics and anyone wanting to know more about Darwin and his influences. S.E. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. Stephen Jay Gould. 1989. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, NY. 347 pp. $16.95, softcover. ISBN 039330700X. The late Stephen Jay Gould is one of the great writers on evolution and biology of the twentieth century. This is a reprint of one of his best books. It tells the story of the Burgess Shale, a limestone quarry formed in an ancient sea, which now contains the fossilized remains of many dozens of strange species. In these fossils lies the story of evolution. Gould weaves together the story of the discovery of this fossil trove by Charles Walcott, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Gould’s own insights into how evolution progresses. This book has become a modern day classic enjoyed by millions, and it remains relevant even as our views on evolution have themselves evolved. S.E. Speciation. Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen Orr. 2004. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA. 545 pp. $56.95, softcover. ISBN 0878930892. This text summarizes and critically reviews current research into the study of speciation and provides a unified and comprehensive overview of an important area of study that has not had a book length synthesis in 25 years. The authors focus on the process of speciation, drawing upon a wide body of research that uses genetic approaches, mathematical theory, ecology, molecular analyses, and comparative studies to examine accepted ideas about speciation. Much of the book deals with the evolution of various forms of reproductive isolation, a key factor in the origin of a new species. The authors use old and sometimes forgotten literature on the subject to shed light on modern day arguments, while also incorporating the most recent scientific findings. This is an important contribution to a broad and lively area of research. S.E. Plant Physiology, Fourth Edition. Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger. 2006. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA. 764 pp. $109.95, hardcover. ISBN 0878938567. The popularity of this textbook, and the rapid progress made in plant 188 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.1 biology every year, has necessitated the fourth edition of this text since its first publication in 1991. The authors, with the help of 25 contributors, have updated every chapter and presented new findings, the most notable of which is the tentative identification of a specific molecule responsible for floral stimulus. This is a complete text on plant physiology, suitable for an upper-level college course on the topic. It offers a comprehensive treatment of water and solute transport, biochemistry and metabolism, and growth and development. It is well illustrated throughout with color plates, charts, graphs, and diagrams, and is extensively referenced to the literature. This is an essential reference volume for anyone studying or teaching plant physiology. S.E. Visions of Nature: The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel. Olaf Breidbach. 2006. Prestel Publishing, New York, NY. 320 pp. $100, hardcover. ISBN 3791336649. This generously illustrated full size volume depicts the work of Ernst Haeckel, who blended art and science with sensational color and minute detail. Beginning his career as a marine biologist, he first came to prominence in 1862 with his volume of drawings of radiolarians. Throughout his career, he turned his keen eye and talent to a diversity of scientific and creative interests, including human embryology and picturesque Italian landscapes. This volume is a detailed overview of Haeckel’s work, and includes some never-before published drawings and watercolors. The accompanying text gives an overview of Haeckel’s life and provides commentary on his work that puts it in the context of his time. The large color plates and the detailed drawings are sure to astound and delight artists and scientists alike. S.E. The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Edward O. Wilson. 2006. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. New York, NY. 2007 Book Reviews 189 175 pp. $21.95, hardcover. ISBN 0393062171. This is an eloquent and impassioned plea by a renowned biologist to pastors and all people of religious faith to work together with scientists to preserve and cherish our planet and the life upon it. Drawing upon a lifetime of biological research, and tapping into his own deeply held spiritual beliefs, Wilson presents a compelling case for why Evangelical Christians must put aside their differences with secular scientists and inspire their congregations to save God’s creation. He accurately portrays the potential for an impending environmental collapse caused by humanity’s ignorance and greed, but maintains his optimism that it is not too late for us to take corrective action. With many personal anecdotes from his career spent in the field, he explains how frogs act as harbingers of environmental damage, and how insects make life as we know it possible. In this way he demonstrates that even the smallest of creatures are an integral part of the web of life. This is a must-read book, disturbing and inspiring, with a message of hope and a vision of what is possible if we all work together. S.E. The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Emerging Threats to Tropical Forests. William F. Laurance and Carlos A. Peres. 2006. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 563 pp. $40, softcover. ISBN 0226470210. Examining tropical forests world wide, this collection of papers outlines the current and recent threats to tropical forest integrity. Starting with threats from a changing climate and atmosphere, the first section includes chapters on changing structure, dynamics ,and function in South America, threats to biodiversity in Australia, climate and land use change in Africa, and impacts of deforestation on global hydroclimatology. Other sections address synergistic effects of environmental changes, emerging pathogens and invaders, poorly understood threats, threat mitigation, and a final chapter including a summary and implications. Among the poorly understood threats discussed are recurring and low intensity fires, loss of dispersers, impacts of roads on understory birds, fragmentation threats to birds, and political impacts on megadiversity in Indonesia. A comprehensive list of references, a list of contributors with contact information, and a subject index conclude the book. C.R. Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. Sean B. Carroll. 2006. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, NY. 301 pp. $25.95 cloth. ISBN 0393061639. An introduction to genomics or comparative DNA analysis and its implications for evolution. Carroll describes how, by examining genomes, the genetic changes from which new species arise can be identified beyond a doubt. Disused or “fossil” genes are also identified, strengthening the case. Emphasizes decoding rather than sequencing as the important part of genomics. Skillfully weaves complex biological concepts with personal stories and examples from around the world. By author’s own account this book is meant for natural history enthusiasts, teachers and students of biology, and anyone who may be confused about the current “intelligent design” debate. Some material may be challenging for the casual reader. Once started, this book is difficult to put down. S.O’M. Big Thicket Plant Ecology: An Introduction. Geraldine Ellis Watson. 2006. University of North Texas Press, Denton, TX. 136 pp. $14.95 softcover. ISBN 1574412140. This third edition is updated from the 1979 original. Details the botanical history and ecology of the East Texas ecotone known as Big Thicket, a landscape only partially protected as a National Preserve. Describes different plant communities that converge in this unique place. Includes descriptions of each of the Big Thicket National Preserve units (geographically separate protected areas in the larger Big Thicket area). Ends with brief description of human use and impact. Includes black and white photos and many 190 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 6, No.1 maps and illustrations. Useful for anyone interested in the Big Thicket region. S.O’M. Turtles of the World. Franck Bonin, Bernard Devaux, and Alain Dupré, translated by Peter C.H. Pritchard. 2006. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 416 pp. $50, hardcover. ISBN 0801884969. Covering almost 300 species of turtles, this is a comprehensive reference. It employs the most recent nomenclature proposed by Roger Bour of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. An introduction briefly describes turtle biology. The remainder of the text is organized by order and, within each, by family. The entry for each species includes naming authority (without discussion) and notes on distribution, accompanied by world-wide and local-range maps. A color photo of nearly each species either shows the entire animal or a close up of distinguishing characteristics. A written description elaborates on characters for identification, but a key to the species is not provided. The natural history and protection of each species is described. A short list of references is provided, as well as a species index by scientific name only. C.R. Evolution of the Insects. David Grimaldi and Michael S. Engel. 2005. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. 755 pp. $80, hardcover. ISBN 0521821495. A comprehensive look at the 400-millionyear fossil record of insects as well as the diversity and relationships of those in existence today. The volume begins with a discussion of insect diversity and how evolutionary history is reconstructed, followed by a chapter on fossilization, dating, and major fossil deposits. The evolutionary sequence is chronicled by order, starting with arthropods, then on to the insects and the relationships among orders. A treatment of early insects—the bristletails and silverfish—is followed by the first winged insects and the radiation of insects to every conceivable terrestrial and aquatic niche. This volume is richly illustrated and includes hundreds of color photographs, numerous electron micrographs, diagrams, and tables. It will be appreciated by professional entomologists, students, and naturalists alike. It includes a glossary, an impressive list of references, and a combined species and subject index. C.R. Bats of Florida. Cynthia S. Marks and George E. Marks. 2006. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 176 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 0813029856. Covering the 20 species of bats in Florida, this guide is also devoted to the subjects of bat biology, natural history, and echolocation. In order to dispel misconceptions, the authors also discuss bats in buildings and bats and human health. There is a chapter on bat houses, including design and construction, and one on bat watching. Chapters specific to Florida species include the bat habitats of Florida, and bat conservation efforts in the state. The 20 species are each given a physical description, along with information about roosting and foraging behaviors. Reproduction and range of individual species are covered. A table with body measurements of each species is particularly useful. Color plates of each species either roosting or in flight are provided. Numerous illustrations enhance the text and a pictorial key to the species will help with identification. A glossary of terms, and a bibliography are also included. C.R. Book Reviewers: S.E. = Stephen Eddy, C.R. = Cathy Rees, S.O'M.= Sarah O'Malley I.L. = Ingrid Lotze