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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Number 3, 2009

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Number 3 (2009): 756

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566 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.3 566 Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 8/3, 2009 The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly. Taylor Lockwood. DVD format. Available online at www.kingdomoffungi.com. $24.95. This instructional video teaches you the basics about toxic mushrooms and their edible look-alikes. It’s an essential tool for mushroom hunters, cooks, parents, pet owners, and medical professionals. In this video, Taylor Lockwood dispels the myths about poisonous mushrooms, gives you a close-up field tutorial, highlights symptoms for eight groups of toxic mushrooms, teaches many botanical and common mushroom names, and includes a short lesson on taking mushroom photographs. The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly is delivered in Lockwood’s lively, down-to-earth style and features his beautiful mushroom photography. Part one provides an introduction and gives background information on poisonous mushrooms. Part two then lays out the basics of mushroom identification. Finally, part three categorizes mushrooms by groups of toxins. Approximately 1 hour total running time. Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas. Stefan Helmreich. 2008. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 464 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780520250628. Alien Ocean immerses readers in worlds being newly explored by marine biologists, worlds usually out of sight and reach: the deep sea, the microscopic realm, and oceans beyond national boundaries. Working alongside scientists at sea and in labs in Monterey Bay, Hawai'i, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Sargasso Sea and at undersea volcanoes in the eastern Pacific, Stefan Helmreich charts how revolutions in genomics, bioinformatics, and remote sensing have pressed marine biologists to see the sea as animated by its smallest inhabitants: marine microbes. Thriving in astonishingly extreme conditions, such microbes have become key figures in scientific and public debates about the origin of life, climate change, biotechnology, and even the possibility of life on other worlds. Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History. Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford. 2008. Columbia University Press, New York, NY. 219 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780231135283. Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford have spent the past 20 years studying the evolutionary history of the family Canidae. Both are well known for having established the modern framework for the evolutionary relationship of canids. Combining their research with Mauricio Antón's impeccable reconstructions of both extinct and extant species, Wang and Tedford present a remarkably detailed and nuanced portrait of the origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years. The authors cull their history from the most recent scientific research conducted on the vast collections of the American Museum of Natural History and other leading institutions. The fossil record of the Canidae, particularly those from their birth place in North America, are the strongest of their kind among known groups of carnivorans. Such a wonderfully detailed evolutionary history provides access to a natural history that is not possible with many other groups of carnivorans.With their rich fossil record, diverse adaptations to various environments, and different predatory specializations, canids are an ideal model organism for the mapping of predator behavior and morphological specializations. They also offer an excellent contrast to felids, which remain entrenched in extreme predatory specializations. The innovative illustrated approach in this book is the perfect accompaniment to an extremely important branch of animal and fossil study. It transforms the science of paleontology into a thrilling visual experience and provides an unprecedented reference for anyone fascinated by dogs. Noteworthy Books 2009 567 Shark. Dean Crawford. 2008. Reaktion Press, London, UK. 224 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9781861893253. The shark’s basic design was perfected by Mother Nature 100 million years ago, and she has been mass-producing them ever since. The shark is so superbly suited to its purpose that it has outlived the dinosaur, the mastodon, the saber-tooth tiger, and the woolly mammoth. There have been some 350 species identified to date, and Nature is nothing if not inventive with her designs: besides the “big four” predatory species (the Great White Shark, the Bull Shark, the Tiger Shark, and the White Tip Oceanic Shark) there exist such unlikelylooking creatures as the Goblin Shark, which sports a pike above its mouth; the Thresher Shark, whose scythe-like tail accounts for 50% of its total length; the Megamouth Shark, discovered in 1976 when one attempted to eat the sea-anchor of a warship; and the ingenious little Cookie-cutter Shark, which dashes in, latches on to its much larger prey, and corkscrews out a circular bite of fl esh. In Shark, Dean Crawford explores the natural and cultural history of a creature that has a prominent place in mythology, the imagination, and even religion. He analyses the ways that the shark has been sensationalised in literature and film, as well as how it looms large in our psyche, inspiring fear and fascination in equal measure, and how our emotional responses have encouraged the commercial and recreational slaughter of shark species. Ultimately, Shark is a celebration of a beautiful animal ideally adapted to its environment. Shark populations are now threatened, not because of any fl aw in design, but because of our own species’ irrational fear and misrepresentation of them. This book is an inspiration to transcend that fear, and to come to know and respect this truly magnificent creature. The Great New Wilderness Debate. J. Baird Callicott and Michael P. Nelson (Eds.). 1998. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 712 pp. $34.95, softcover. ISBN 0820319848. An expansive collection of writings defining wilderness, from John Muir to Gary Snyder. The Great New Wilderness Debate is an expansive, wide-ranging collection that addresses the pivotal environmental issues of the modern era. This eclectic volume on the varied constructions of “wilderness” reveals the recent controversies that surround those conceptions, and the gulf between those who argue for wilderness “preservation” and those who argue for “wise use.” J. Baird Callicott and Michael P. Nelson have selected thirty-nine essays that provide historical context, range broadly across the issues, and set forth the positions of the debate. Beginning with such well-known authors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, the collection moves forward to the contemporary debate and presents seminal works by a number of the most distinguished scholars in environmental history and environmental philosophy. The Great New Wilderness Debate also includes essays by conservation biologists, cultural geographers, environmental activists, and contemporary writers on the environment. Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South. James R. Cothran. 2003. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. 712 pp. $49.95, hardcover. ISBN 1570035016. Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South is a beautifully illustrated volume that features botanical prints, lithographs, garden plans, historic photographs, and contemporary photography to reveal the rich garden history of the South. A pictorial splendor as well as a treasure trove of cultural history, this volume is unique in its field. James R. Cothran invites plant enthusiasts, gardeners, and individuals interested in the history of the South to experience the glorious gardens that fl ourished in the region from 1820 through 1860. During this period of enormous wealth, prosper568 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.3 ous southerners built stately houses and established high-style gardens in towns and cities, as well as on plantations. The South's mild climate, long growing season, fertile soil, and traditional ties to the land fostered an abiding interest in gardening that encompassed the region. Cothran's research included travel throughout the South to examine a multitude of historical sources—diaries, letters, travel accounts, garden plans, maps, paintings, photographs, nursery catalogs, garden books, and agricultural journals. In the resulting volume, he describes the distinguishing features of antebellum gardens, sources for seed and plants, and dissemination of gardening information and fashion. Cothran also identifies landscape plans executed and plants cultivated during the golden age of horticulture in the South. Of particular interest to contemporary gardeners is an extensive list of ornamentals—American natives, European favorites, and a wide selection of newly introduced exotics from China and Japan—that were hallmarks of antebellum gardens and that remain mainstays of southern gardens today. In addition, Cothran provides profiles of prominent gardeners, horticulturists, nurserymen, and writers who, in the decades preceding the American Civil War, were instrumental in shaping the horticultural and gardening legacy of the South. The Evolution of Animal Communication: Reliability and Deception in Signaling Systems. William A. Searcy and Stephen Nowicki. 2005. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 288 pp. $35.95, softcover. ISBN 9780691070957. Gull chicks beg for food from their parents. Peacocks spread their tails to attract potential mates. Meerkats alert family members of the approach of predators. But are these—and other animals— sometimes dishonest? That's what William Searcy and Stephen Nowicki ask in The Evolution of Animal Communication. They take on the fascinating yet perplexing question of the dependability of animal signaling systems. The book probes such phenomena as the begging of nesting birds, alarm calls in squirrels and primates, carotenoid coloration in fish and birds, the calls of frogs and toads, and weapon displays in crustaceans. Do these signals convey accurate information about the signaler, its future behavior, or its environment? Or do they mislead receivers in a way that benefits the signaler? For example, is the begging chick really hungry as its cries indicate or is it lobbying to get more food than its brothers and sisters? Searcy and Nowicki take on these and other questions by developing clear definitions of key issues, by reviewing the most relevant empirical data and gametheory models available, and by asking how well theory matches data. They find that animal communication is largely reliable—but that this basic reliability also allows the clever deceiver to fl ourish. Well researched and clearly written, their book provides new insight into animal communication, behavior, and evolution. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora. Willow Zuchowski. 2005. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 532 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN 9780801473746. Ranging from miniature epiphytic orchids to towering trees, and from mangrove forests lining coastal waterways to high-elevation cloud forests, Costa Rica's rich and varied fl ora dazzles visitors and botanists alike. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica, the first popular treatment to include plants from all regions of the country, is an indispensable guide to native and exotic species found in the neotropics. This book is beautifully illustrated with more than 540 full-color photographs taken in the field, each depicting an entire plant or a closer view of fl owers, fruits, or seeds. Instructive penand- ink drawings of botanical details also accompany many of the accounts. The text clearly explains each plant's identifying characteristics and reveals fascinating Noteworthy Books 2009 569 facts about its natural history, chemical properties, economic importance, and medicinal and other uses. Sidebar features throughout the book highlight conservation, ethnobotany, and ecology; their topics include unusual applications for plants, distinct attributes of certain plant families, and plants of particular microhabitats. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica is a wonderful resource for naturalists, students, and researchers, as well as both experienced and first-time visitors to Costa Rica and the American tropics. The Mammals of Costa Rica: A Natural History and Field Guide. Mark Wainwright. 2007. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 488 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780801473753. From the raucous Mantled Howler Monkeys and the charismatic White-nosed Coatis to the elusive Jaguar, The Mammals of Costa Rica offers authoritative accounts of the fascinating creatures of the neotropics. With more than four hundred spectacular illustrations and a wealth of detailed information drawn from firsthand observation, new research, and synthesis of the scientific literature, this book describes all of Costa Rica's readily identifiable terrestrial and freshwater mammals. The clear and entertaining text is perfectly suited to meet the needs of naturalists, students, and researchers, as well as both experienced and first-time visitors to Costa Rica and the American tropics. The mammal descriptions include key identification features, range maps, vocalizations, local folklore and mythology, and comprehensive information about natural history and conservation. The color illustrations show not only the mammals themselves but also their tracks, foods, and skulls. Also included are illustrations of numerous other animals and plants with which the mammals have close ecological links. By presenting mammals in a broader context, The Mammals of Costa Rica provides an entry point into a general study of tropical ecology and conservation. The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. Richard Garrigues. 2007. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 416 pp. $29.95, softcover. ISBN 9780801473739. This is the one field guide the novice or experienced birder needs to identify birds in the field in the diverse habitats found in Costa Rica. It features descriptions and illustrations of more than 820 resident and neotropical migrant species found in Costa Rica, all in a compact, portable, user- friendly design. The detailed full-color illustrations show identifying features— including plumage differences among males, females, and juveniles—and views of birds in fl ight wherever pertinent. Additional features of this all-new guide include: 166 original color plates depicting more than 820 species; concise text that describes key field marks for positive identification, as well as habitat, behavior, and vocalizations; range maps and texts arranged on opposing pages from illustrations for quick, easy reference; the most up-to-date bird list for Costa Rica; a visual guide to the anatomical features of birds with accompanying explanatory text; and quick reference to vultures and raptors in fl ight. 783 maps and 31 color illustrations in addition to the color plates. 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. 570 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No.3