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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Number 2, 2009

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Number 2 (2009): 375-380

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Noteworthy Books 2009 375 375 Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 8/2, 2009 Micropropagation of Orchids, Second Edition. Volumes I and II. Joseph Arditti. 2008. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA. 1560 pp. $475, hardcover. ISBN 9781405160889. This greatly expanded and updated edition of a classic reference work comprises two volumes offering a compendium of methods for multiplying orchids through micropropagation. This work presents: a detailed collection of procedures and methods for multiplying orchids, including organ, tissue, and cell culture techniques in vitro; classic techniques that have been in the forefront of orchid propagation since they were first developed in 1949; and detailed procedures appended with tables and complete recipes for a large number of culture media. It also includes many illustrations, chemical formulas, historical vignettes, and seldom seen illustrations of people, orchids, apparatus, and tools. Environmental Best Management Practices for Aquaculture. Craig S. Tucker and John A. Hargreaves (Eds.). 2008. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA. 592 pp. $170, hardcover. ISBN 0813820278. Population growth and increased appreciation of seafood's role in human health have pushed global seafood consumption past the point where capture fisheries can meet demand. Aquaculture—farming aquatic plants and animals in oceans and inland waters—has expanded rapidly in the past decade in response to the increased demand for fishery products. The rapid growth of aquaculture domestically and internationally has stimulated concerns over social and environmental impacts caused by increased production of farmed aquatic species. Environmental advocacy groups and government regulatory agencies have called for better management to address potentially negative impacts and assure sustainable aquaculture development. Environmental Best Management Practices for Aquaculture is the first synthesis of best management practices that minimize environmental impacts. It provides technical guidance to improve the environmental performance of aquaculture, and is the only comprehensive guide to best management practices for mitigation of environmental impacts of aquaculture. This book addresses development and implementation of best management practices, practices for specific aquaculture production systems, and the economics of implementing best management practices. Environmental Best Management Practices for Aquaculture includes contributions from internationally recognized experts in environmental management and aquaculture from academia, government, and non-governmental organizations. This text is a valuable reference for innovative producers, policy makers, regulators, research scientists, and students. Plant Biotechnology and Genetics: Principles, Techniques, and Applications. C. Neal Stewart, Jr. (Ed.). 2008. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 374 pp. $105, hardcover. ISBN 9780470043813. Designed to inform and inspire the next generation of plant biotechnologists, Plant Biotechnology and Genetics explores contemporary techniques and applications of plant biotechnology, illustrating the tremendous potential this technology has to change our world by improving the food supply. As an introductory text, its focus is on basic science and processes. It guides students from plant biology and genetics to breeding to principles and applications of plant biotechnology. Next, the text examines the critical issues of patents and intellectual property and then tackles the many controversies and consumer concerns over transgenic plants. The final chapter of the book provides an expert forecast of the future of plant biotechnology. Each chapter has been written by one 376 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.2 or more leading practitioners in the field and then carefully edited to ensure thoroughness and consistency. The chapters are organized so that each one progressively builds upon the previous chapters. Questions set forth in each chapter help students deepen their understanding and facilitate classroom discussions. Inspirational autobiographical essays, written by pioneers and eminent scientists in the field today, are interspersed throughout the text. Authors explain how they became involved in the field and offer a personal perspective on their contributions and the future of the field. The text's accompanying CD-ROM offers full-color figures that can be used in classroom presentations with other teaching aids available online. This text is recommended for junior- and senior-level courses in plant biotechnology or plant genetics and for courses devoted to special topics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is also an ideal reference for practitioners. A Primer on Natural Resource Science. Fred S. Guthery. 2008. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 224 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9781603440257. In wildlife, fisheries, forestry, and range management departments around the country, natural resource scientists and their students advance understanding of the natural world largely through the collection and analysis of data. These students learn how to acquire data in the field and analyze them using modeling and other statistical methods. What they do not learn, contends author Fred S. Guthery, is what science means as an intellectual pursuit and where natural resource science fits in the scientific tradition. He argues that without education about the nature and philosophy of science, the wildlife field has become enamored with its methodologies at the expense of gaining real knowledge, leading to what some have characterized as “a crisis in how wildlife science is pursued.” With A Primer on Natural Resource Science, Guthery intends to put learning about the nature of science into the natural resource scientist’s university curriculum. In the first part of the book, “Perspectives,” Guthery describes the principles of the scientific endeavor, discussing the nature of reasoning, facts, creativity, and critical thinking. In the second part, “Practice,” he presents the “mechanics” of science, explaining the roles of experiment, observation, models, and statistics. He also demystifies the essential activity of publishing, telling students and researchers why they must do it and how to do it successfully. Throughout the book, Guthery uses his long experience and the body of his own research to relate the philosophical underpinnings of science to the realities of field biology. By providing real-life examples in the practice of natural resource science, Guthery offers practical, occasionally painful, and sometimes humorous lessons on the human urge to know about nature through science. Greg Lasley’s Texas Wildlife Portraits. Greg Lasley. 2008. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 128 pp. $30, hardcover. ISBN 9781603440578. Experience the wildlife of Texas, up-close and personal, through the eyes of one of the country's most talented nature photographers. Where else can you look a coyote in the eye while it licks its chops? Spy the long tongue of a Nine-banded Armadillo as it drinks? Watch a rare Blue-faced Ringtail dragonfl y eating its prey? Glimpse a Sanderling's feet spread midair as it scurries down the beach? See an American White Pelican's pouch turned inside-out as it yawns? Awardwinning photographer Greg Lasley has been taking pictures of wildlife for thirty years, and although he has photographed some of the most exotic creatures and remote places on earth, in Greg Lasley's Texas Wildlife Portraits he gives homage to his favorite place for photography: his home state. With more than a hundred stunning color photographs, this book refl ects Lasley's penchant for the state's insect life, especially dragonfl ies, as well as his long affection for Texas birds. Noteworthy Books 2009 377 In addition, many hours of patient waiting or the happenstance of a chance encounter have yielded fine images of Texas mammals and reptiles in their habitats. Veteran Texas naturalists John and Gloria Tveten open the text with an introduction to the man behind the camera. From there, photographer's comments and insightful photo captions help vividly recreate the moment each image was shot—what the animal was doing, what the photographer was thinking. Texas Rattlesnake Roundups. Clark E. Adams and John K. Thomas. 2008. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 128 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9781603440356. Covered by Wide World of Sports, National Public Radio, and National Geographic, Texas rattlesnake roundups like those in Sweetwater, TX, draw both fascinated tourists and irate protesters. Begun as an organized form of predator control in the 1920s, for many years rattlesnake roundups have been promoted as community events and civic fundraisers. The Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake is the main attraction, with pits full of thousands of writhing rattlesnakes serving as the featured spectacle. Often taking advantage of the animals' denning behavior to capture large numbers at a time, hunters deliver live snakes to commercial dealers who are contracted by event organizers to supply the animals as a source of entertainment: from snake handling and snake races to snake sacking, snake skinning, snake milking, and snake education activities. Rattlesnake products of various types are also sold and consumed at the events. In this close-up look at rattlesnake roundups in Texas, Clark E. Adams and John K. Thomas present perhaps the first full description of this social and environmental phenomenon, tracking its popularity, its participants, its opponents, its impact on the communities where it occurs, and, as much as is possible, its effects on the rattlesnake itself. In recent years, the commercial trade in Texas animals has emerged as a serious and controversial issue, and the number of roundups has declined sharply. Texas Rattlesnake Roundups promises to provide a balanced starting point for all those interested in knowing more about this curious custom. The Mammals of South America, Volume 1: Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats. Alfred L. Gardner (Ed.). 2007. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 690 pp. $85, hardcover. ISBN 9780226282404. The vast terrain between Panama and Tierra del Fuego contains some of the world’s richest mammalian fauna, but until now it has lacked a comprehensive systematic reference to the identification, distribution, and taxonomy of its mammals. The first such book of its kind and the inaugural volume in a three-part series, Mammals of South America both summarizes existing information and encourages further research of the mammals indigenous to the region. Containing identification keys and brief descriptions of each order, family, and genus, the first volume of Mammals of South America covers marsupials, shrews, armadillos, sloths, anteaters, and bats. Species accounts include taxonomic descriptions, synonymies, keys to identification, distributions with maps and a gazetteer of marginal localities, lists of recognized subspecies, brief summaries of natural history information, and discussions of issues related to taxonomic interpretations. Highly anticipated and much needed, this book will be a landmark contribution to mammalogy, zoology, tropical biology, and conservation biology. Darwinian Reductionism or, How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology. Alexander Rosenberg. 2006. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 272 pp. $40, hardcover. ISBN 9780226727295. After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of 378 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.2 these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity and wit, Darwinian Reductionism navigates this difficult and seemingly intractable dualism with convincing analysis and timely evidence. In the spirit of the few distinguished biologists who accept reductionism—E.O. Wilson, Francis Crick, Jacques Monod, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins—Rosenberg provides a philosophically sophisticated defense of reductionism and applies it to molecular developmental biology and the theory of natural selection, ultimately proving that the physicalist must also be a reductionist. CO2 Rising. The World's Greatest Environmental Challenge. Tyler Volk. 2008. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 223 pp. $22.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780262220835. The most colossal environmental disturbance in human history is under way. Ever- rising levels of the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) are altering the cycles of matter and life and interfering with the Earth's natural cooling process. Melting Arctic ice and mountain glaciers are just the first relatively mild symptoms of what will result from this disruption of the planetary energy balance. In CO2 Rising, scientist Tyler Volk explains the process at the heart of global warming and climate change: the global carbon cycle. Vividly and concisely, Volk describes what happens when CO2 is released by the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), letting loose carbon atoms once trapped deep underground into the interwoven web of air, water, and soil. To demonstrate how the carbon cycle works, Volk traces the paths that carbon atoms take during their global circuits. Showing us the carbon cycle from a carbon atom’s viewpoint, he follows one carbon atom into a leaf of barley, then into an alcohol molecule in a glass of beer, through the human bloodstream, and then back into the air. He also compares the fl uxes of carbon brought into the biosphere naturally with those created by the combustion of fossil fuels and explains why the latter are responsible for rising temperatures. Knowledge about the global carbon cycle and the huge disturbances that human activity produces in it will equip us to consider the hard questions that Volk raises in the second half of CO2 Rising: projections of future levels of CO2; which energy systems and processes (solar, wind, nuclear, carbon sequestration?) will power civilization in the future; the relationships among the wealth of nations, energy use, and CO2 emissions; and global equity in per capita emissions. Answering these questions will indeed be our greatest environmental challenge. Dire Predictions. Understanding Global Warming. The Illustrated Guide to the Findings of the IPCC. Michael Mann and Lee R. Kump. 2008. DK Publishing, New York, NY. 208 pp. $25, softcover. ISBN 9780756639952. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been issuing the essential facts and figures on climate change for nearly two decades. But the hundreds of pages of scientific evidence quoted for accuracy by the media and scientists alike, remain inscrutable to the general public who may still question the validity of climate change. Esteemed climate scientists Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump present an important book in this time of global need. Dire Predictions presents the information documented by the IPCC in an illustrated, visually stunning, and undeniably powerful way to the lay reader. The scientific findings that provide validity to the implications of climate change are presented in clear-cut graphic elements, striking images, and understandable analogies. Readers will be able to understand the IPCC reports’ key concepts such as scientific uncertainty. They will also learn how to build a climate model and use it to predict future climates. Geoforensics is presented as a way to learn Noteworthy Books 2009 379 from the past by piecing together clues from prior climates. The Biology of the Xenarthra. Sergio F. Vizcaíno and W.J. Loughry (Eds.). 2008. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 400 pp. $100, hardcover. ISBN 9780813031651. The Xenarthra are an order of the mammals consisting of the armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. The Biology of the Xenarthra is the first authoratative study of the Xenarthra in a generation. The volume features an impressive group of international scholars who explore the current biology and ecological status of these mammals in each of the geographic regions they inhabit. Many of these populations reside in developing countries, and before now, information on these species has been scarce. Topics cover a wide array of issues including genetics, physiology, behavior, ecology, and conservation. Discussions range from paleontological perspectives on xenarthran evolution to both lab and field-based studies of living species. Contemporary research in areas such as genome sequencing and leprosy in armadillos is also included. Freshwater Mussels of Alabama and the Mobile Basin in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. James D. Williams, Arthur E. Bogan, and Jeffrey T. Garner (Eds.). 2008. University of Alabam Press, Tuscaloosa, AL. 960 pp. $70, hardcover. ISBN 0817316132. A comprehensive accounting of the richest mussel fauna in the US. Alabama rivers and waterways are home to the largest and most diverse population of freshwater mussel species in the nation, roughly 60% of US mussel fauna. The Mobile River Basin, which drains portions of Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi waterways, also contains diverse mussel populations. However, many of these species have been significantly depleted in the last century due to habitat alteration (river damming, channelization, siltation), pollution, and invasive species, and many more are in imminent danger of extinction. The authors offer encyclopedic entries on each of the 178 mussel species currently identified in Alabama and the Mobile River Basin—the scientific and common names; a morphological description as well as color photographs of the shell appearance; analysis of the soft anatomy; information about ecology, biology, and conservation status; and a color distribution map. With an extensive glossary of terms and full index, plus additional material on the archaeological record, a history of commercial uses of mussels, and the work of significant biologists studying these species, this volume is a long overdue and invaluable resource, not only for scholars of aquatic biology and zoology but also conservationists interested in the preservation of ecological diversity and protection of inland environments. The Lives of Conifers: A Comparative Account of the Coniferous Trees. Graham R. Powell. 2009. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 288 pp. $50, hardcover. ISBN 9780801892431. Dominant throughout the temperate northern hemisphere, conifers form the backbone of boreal ecosystems. This comprehensive reference work explains the complex life cycles and ecological and economic importance of these trees. Based on more than five decades of study, Graham R. Powell provides an illustrated, guided tour of conifers from seed and reproduction to old age and death. Focusing on the most common species, Powell offers a clear picture of the vital roles conifers play in varying environmental systems and discusses the extent to which humankind relies on coniferous trees. The engaging text is peppered throughout with interesting facts and comparative data about well—and lesser—known species. The Lives of Conifers features hundreds of full-color illustrations and expansive morphological, anatomical, and physiological information about the 380 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.2 The Southeastern Naturalist welcomes submissions of review copies of books that publishers or authors would like to recommend to the journal’s readership and are relevant to the journal’s mission of publishing information about the natural history of the southeastern US. Accompanying short, descriptive summaries of the text are also welcome. evergreens. The book includes a glossary of terms and a detailed bibliography for further study. Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales. Elin Kelsey. 2008. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 216 pp. $24.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780520249769. Personal, anecdotal, and highly engaging, Watching Giants opens a window on a world that seems quite like our own, yet is so different that understanding it pushes the very limits of our senses. Elin Kelsey's colorful firstperson account, drawing from her rich, often humorous, everyday experiences as a mother, a woman, and a scientist, takes us to the incredibly productive waters of the Gulf of California and beyond, to oceans around the world. Kelsey brings us along as she talks to leading cetacean researchers and marine ecologists about their intriguing discoveries. We encounter Humpback Whales that build nets from bubbles, gain a disturbing maternal perspective on the dolphin-tuna issue, uncover intimate details about whale sex, and contemplate the meaning of the complex social networks that exist in the seas. What emerges alongside these fascinating snapshots of whale culture is a dizzying sense of the tremendous speed with which we are changing the oceans’ ecosystems—through overfishing, noise pollution, even real estate development. Watching Giants introduces a world of immense interconnectivity and beauty— one that is now facing imminent peril. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera. Peggy Alrich and Wesley Higgins. 2008. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 512 pp. $49.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780801447372. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera is the most comprehensive and extensively illustrated account of orchid genera to date. Its concise entries provide details of nomenclature, classifi- cation, original publication, etymology, and geographic range, along with a brief description and color images of representative fl owers. The dictionary describes not only all of the 850 orchid genera that are recognized today but also those genera known only from fossil records, published before Linnaeus, validly published (but not accepted), and invalidly published according to the standards of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, as well as those that have variant names or spellings. In addition to the alphabetic entries, this dictionary includes an introduction to orchid biology, a glossary, a list of taxonomists credited with publishing new orchid genera, key references and bibliographical abbreviation list, and the governing nomenclature rules. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera also features a Foreword by Peter H. Raven and an Introduction on the biology of orchids by David Benzing that describes the August 2007 discovery of the world's oldest unequivically orchidaceous fossil. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL, are extensive botanical gardens dedicated to research and collections of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems. The Gardens maintain the most diverse collection of bromeliads in the world and feature over 20,000 plants from some 6000 species in 1200 genera from 214 plant families, including 6000 live orchids. This monumental work is yet another manifestation of the collection— an extension of the Gardens into print.