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2007 Book Reviews 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unpublished material and Darwin’s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.
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.
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.
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.
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