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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 9, Number 1, 2010

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 9, Issue 1 (2010): 184–190

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184 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 9, No.1 184 Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 9/1, 2010 Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences. Paul Keddy. 2007. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. 706 pp. $75, hardcover. ISBN 9780521864800. Plants make up 99.9 percent of the world's living matter, provide food and shelter, and control the Earth's climate. The study of plant ecology is therefore essential to understanding the biological functions and processes of the biosphere. This vibrant new introductory textbook integrates important classical themes with recent ideas, models and data. The book begins with the origin of plants and their role in creating the biosphere as the context for discussing plant functional types and evolutionary patterns. The coverage continues logically through the exploration of causation with chapters, amongst others, on resources, stress, competition, predation, and mutualism. The book concludes with a chapter on conservation, addressing the concern that as many as one-third of all plant species are at risk of extinction. Each chapter is enriched with striking and unusual examples of plants (e.g., stone plants, carnivorous plants) and plant habitats (e.g., isolated tropical tepui, arctic cliffs). Paul Keddy— winner of the 2007 National Wetlands Award for Research—writes in a lively and thought-provoking style which will appeal to students at all levels. This text describes the origin of plants and their role in creating the biosphere, is enriched with striking and unusual examples of plant natural history, and integrates classical themes with newer ideas, models, and data. 367 illustrations and 81 tables supplement the text. Meteorites: Their Impact on Science and History. Brigitte Zanda and Monica Rotaru (Eds.). 2001. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. 128 pp. $37.99, softcover. ISBN 0521799406. What are meteorites? Where do they come from? Are they a threat? What are they made of? How common are they? As centuries have passed, our knowledge of these extraterrestrial objects has advanced immensely, and today, the scientific study of meteorites provides a wealth of information about the solar system. Meteorites reveal clues to some of the greatest scientific enigmas: the origin of life on Earth, the mass extinction of species, the nature and composition of asteroids, the conditions during the formation of the solar system, the dust from stars that died long before our Sun formed. Written by a team of experts, Meteorites is an accessible, comprehensive guide that features over two hundred full-color photographs, diagrams and graphs. Look no further for a wonderful introduction to these powerful, yet mystifying, objects. The Cambridge Illustrated Dictionary of Astronomy. Jacqueline Mitton. 2008. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. 416 pp. $32, hardcover. ISBN 9780521823647. This lavishly illustrated new dictionary written by an experienced writer and consultant on astronomy provides an essential guide to the universe for amateur astronomers of all ages. Around 1300 carefully selected and cross-referenced entries are complemented by hundreds of beautiful colour illustrations, taken from space missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other major observatories on Earth and in space. Distinguished stellar illustrator Wil Tirion has drawn 20 new star maps especially for inclusion here. A myriad of named astronomical objects, constellations, observatories and space missions are described in detail, as well as biographical sketches for 70 of the most luminous individuals in the history of astronomy and space science. Acronyms and specialist terms are clearly explained, making for the most thorough and carefully assembled reference resource that teachers and enthusiasts of astronomy will ever need. 2010 Noteworthy Books 185 Seed Dispersal by Bats in the Neotropics. Tatyana A. Lobova, Cullen K. Geiselman, and Scott A. Mori. 2009. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 475 pp. $70, hardcover. ISBN 9780893275013. Bats play an important ecological role as seed dispersers in the New World tropics, a region with exceptional and unique diversity of plants and bats. This book provides a comprehensive treatment of all known bat-dispersed plants in the New World tropics and covers a total of 549 species in 191 genera from 62 plant families. This volume places a special emphasis on the fl owering plants and bat fauna of the relatively undisturbed forests of central French Guiana. In particular, detailed descriptions of 112 bat-dispersed species from that area are beautifully complemented by color photographs that will help other researchers identify fruits and seeds throughout the Neotropics. Going beyond merely describing these species, the authors compare and analyze the diverse traits of plants dispersed by bats to reexamine bat preferences of some fruiting plants over the others, a phenomenon known as the “bat-fruit syndrome”. The seed dispersers too are given ample treatment here with descriptions of the foraging ecology and feeding behaviors of the thirty-seven fruit-eating bats found in central French Guiana. The monograph includes complementing appendices that allow the reader to determine all bat species reported to feed on the fruits of a particular plant and all fruiting plants in the diet of a particular bat species. This book summarizes decades of research on bat-plant interactions from many parts of the Neotropics providing a stimulus for further ecological and evolutionary studies. It will serve as a reference for anyone interested in conservation, systematics, and plant-animal interactions in tropical forests. Foliicolous Lichenized Fungi. Robert Lücking. 2009. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 868 pp. $125, hardcover. ISBN 9780893274917. This title is monograph 103 of the Flora Neotropica series; it is the recipient of the 2008 Augustin-Pyramus de Candolle Prize for Best Monograph, awarded by Société de Physique et d’Histoire Naturelle de Genéve (SPHN). Foliicolous Lichenized Fungi treats an enigmatic group of organisms: lichens that grow on living leaves of vascular plants in tropical rainforests of the New World. It covers more than 600 species (about 70% of all species occurring worldwide) in more than 70 genera, 23 families, and 8 orders. Leaf-dwelling lichens are unusual in that they are small and have very short life-cycles, and representatives can be found in almost all major lineages of lichenized fungi. Up to 50 species can be found on a single leaf the size of a hand, and up to 300 species within a hectare of tropical rainforest. No other lichen group exhibits such extraordinary diversity. All taxa are keyed out and each species is treated in detail, including photographic illustrations and line drawings. The book features a lengthy introductory chapter covering the history of foliicolous lichen research, morphology and anatomy, taxonomy and systematics, evolution and phylogeny, ecology and biogeography, interactions with other organisms, and potential applications of these tiny organisms. Hypotrachyna. Parmeliaceae, Lichenized Fungi. Flora Neotropica Monograph 104. Harrie J. Sipman, John A. Elix, and Thomas H. Nash III. 2009. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 179 pp. $48, hardcover. ISBN 978089327502. A total of 140 species of Hypotrachyna (Parmeliaceae, Lichenized Fungi) are recognized from the Neotropics. This is well over 50% of the species know worldwide in this primarily tropical genus and includes 85 species thus far known only from the Neotropics. Keys are provided; synonymy, descriptions, secondary chemistry, distribution maps, habitats, and a selection of herbarium voucher specimens are given for each species. 186 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 9, No.1 Guide to Plants of Central French Guiana. Part 4. Liverworts and Hornworts. S. Robbert Gradstein and Anna Luiza Ilkiu-Borges. 2009. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 140 pp. $52, hardcover. ISBN 9780893275068. Central French Guiana is a region covered with lush tropical rain forests and cloud forests, and is home to about fifteen percent of the liverwort diversity of tropical America. This book provides illustrations, keys, and descriptions for 177 species, in 61 genera and 19 families, of liverworts and hornworts recorded from central French Guiana. It is the first fully illustrated fl ora of liverworts and hornworts for any part of the Neotropics. This volume completes the series of comprehensive plant identification manuals of central French Guiana published by The New York Botanical Garden Press. Peat Mosses of the Southeastern United States. Lewis E. Anderson, A. Jonathan Shaw, and Blanka Shaw. 2009. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, NY. 118 pp. $42, hardcover. ISBN 9780893275051. Sphagnum, commonly known as peat moss, is widely used in agriculture, horticulture, and floriculture. Living plants are colorful and add much to the beauty of wetlands. It takes little training to recognize the genus, and most of the sections are almost easy to recognize. Yet they are scarcely noticed by field botanists, and even bryologists tend to avoid them; they have a reputation of being taxonomically difficult but this applies only to a subset. There are few taxonomic treatments of Sphagnum in North America, yet it is a fascinating genus whose species comprise an integral part of nearly all fresh-water wetlands. Almost all significant critical taxonomic characters are microscopic and require dissections and staining, which can, with a little practice, be easily self-taught. Even with a moderate amount of field experience, however, a novice can learn to recognize sections and some species in the field with certainty (although there are many species that even experts cannot distinguish without a compound microscope). All field identifications need to be confirmed microscopically. This volume will aid those who venture into identifying peat mosses. Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide. Whit Gibbons and Judy Greene. 2009. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 184 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780801893506. Ever wonder how many kinds of turtles there are? Or if they have teeth? Why so many turtles have yellow stripes on their neck? If it is wise to feed turtles in your neighborhood pond or lake? Whit Gibbons and Judy Greene, two internationally known turtle biologists, provide complete answers to the most frequently asked questions about the more than 300 turtle, tortoise, and terrapin species of the world. From the palm-sized bog turtles of the United States to the great oceanic leatherbacks, turtles across the globe are admired for their persistence, patience, and resilience. They are favorites of scientific study and beloved pets throughout the world. With a friendly mix of scientific analysis and basic encyclopedic coverage, Gibbons and Greene discuss a broad range of turtle topics, including behavior, ecology, reproduction and development, turtlehuman relationships, and the appearance of turtles in popular literature. With attractive photographs and an intuitive question—and—answer format, Gibbons and Greene answer more than 100 common questions about these remarkable creatures. Readers who want answers to specific questions or just want to expand their knowledge about these unique and interesting animals will find the information they seek in this essential reference. The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson. 2009. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 592 pp. 2010 Noteworthy Books 187 $65, hardcover. ISBN 9780801893049. Just who was the Przewalski after whom Przewalski's Horse was named? Or Husson, the eponym for the rat Hydromys hussoni? Or the Geoffroy whose name is forever linked to Geoffroy's Cat? This unique reference provides a brief look at the real lives behind the scientific and vernacular mammal names one encounters in field guides, textbooks, journal articles, and other scholarly works. Arranged to mirror standard dictionaries, the more than 1300 entries included here explain the origins of over 2000 mammal species names. Each bio-sketch lists the scientific and common-language names of all species named after the person, outlines the individual's major contributions to mammalogy and other branches of zoology, and includes brief information about his or her mammalian namesake's distribution. The two appendixes list scientific and common names for ease of reference, and, where appropriate, individual entries include mammals commonly—but mistakenly—believed to be named after people. The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals is a highly readable and informative guide to the people whose names are immortalized in mammal nomenclature. An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century. Jack E. Davis. 2009. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 816 pp. $20.97, hardcover. ISBN 9780820330716. No one did more than Marjory Stoneman Douglas to transform the Everglades from the country’s most maligned swamp into its most beloved wetland. By the late twentieth century, her name and her classic The Everglades: River of Grass had become synonymous with Everglades protection. The crusading resolve and boundless energy of this implacable elder won the hearts of an admiring public while confounding her opponents—growth merchants intent on having their way with the Everglades. Douglas’s efforts ultimately earned her a place among a mere handful of individuals honored as a namesake of a national wilderness area. In the first comprehensive biography of Douglas, Jack E. Davis explores the 108-year life of this compelling woman. Douglas was more than an environmental activist. She was a suffragist, a lifetime feminist and supporter of the ERA, a champion of social justice, and an author of diverse literary talent. She came of age literally and professionally during the American environmental century, the century in which Americans mobilized an unprecedented popular movement to counter the equally unprecedented liberties they had taken in exploiting, polluting, and destroying the natural world. The Everglades were a living barometer of America’s often tentative shift toward greater environmental responsibility. Reconstructing this larger picture, Davis recounts the shifts in Douglas’s own life and her instrumental role in four important developments that contributed to Everglades protection: the making of a positive wetland image, the creation of a national park, the expanding infl uence of ecological science, and the rise of the modern environmental movement. In the grand but beleaguered Everglades, which Douglas came to understand is a vast natural system that supports human life, she saw nature’s providence. The Art of Managing Longleaf: A personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach. Leon Neel with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way. 2009. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 224 pp. $27.97, hardcover. ISBN 9780820330471. No one did more than Marjory StonemanGreenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth Longleaf Pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that once covered close to ninety million acres across the Southeast. The Art of Managing Longleaf documents the sometimes controversial management system that not only has protected Green188 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 9, No.1 wood’s “Big Woods” but also has been practiced on a substantial acreage of the remnant longleaf pine woodlands in the Red Hills and other parts of the Coastal Plain. Often described as an art informed by science, the Stoddard-Neel Approach combines frequent prescribed burning, highly selective logging, a commitment to a particular woodland aesthetic, intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and its processes, and other strategies to manage the Longleaf Pine ecosystem in a sustainable way. The namesakes of this method are Herbert Stoddard (who developed it) and his colleague and successor, Leon Neel (who has refined it). In addition to presenting a detailed, illustrated outline of the Stoddard-Neal Approach, the book—based upon an extensive oral history project undertaken by Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way, with Neel as its major subject—discusses Neel’s deep familial and cultural roots in the Red Hills; his years of work with Stoddard; and the formation and early years of the Tall Timbers Research Station, which Stoddard and Neel helped found in the pinelands near Tallahassee, FL, in 1958. In their introduction, environmental historians Sutter and Way provide an overview of the Longleaf ecosystem’s natural and human history, and in his afterword, forest ecologist Jerry F. Franklin affirms the value of the Stoddard-Neel Approach. The Seaweeds of Florida. Clinton J. Dawes and Arthur C. Mathieson. 2008. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 656 pp. $100, hardcover. ISBN 9780813031484. The product of nearly thirty years of research, The Seaweeds of Florida offers an invaluable, illustrated reference to all known seaweed taxa found in Florida coastal waters. This volume will provide a helpful aid for researchers in Florida as well as the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. Authors Clinton Dawes and Arthur Mathieson detail the taxonomy, morphology, and cytology, plus the ecology and distribution patterns, of 674 species. In addition, they provide keys to the genera and keys to species within the genera, a glossary of difficult terms, an explanation or derivations of the scientific names, an impressive literature compilation including sources for further information, and excellent line drawings for each species. The Biology of the Xenarthra. Sergio F. Vizcaíno and W.J. Loughry (Editors). 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. Alabama Wildlife. Volume Two: Imperiled Aquatic Mollusks and Fishes. Ralph E. Mirarchi (Editor). 2004. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL. 256 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780817351311. Comprehensive guides to the vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife of the state. The four volumes in this collection present current, detailed information on the known vertebrates, freshwater mussels, and snails in Alabama. Volume 2, Imperiled Aquatic Wildlife, and Volume 3, Imperiled Terrestrial Wildlife, provide a closer focus on the vertebrates and invertebrates of special interest within the 2010 Noteworthy Books 189 state, many of which are rare and endangered. These volumes contain expanded species descriptions that include anatomic features, more detailed habitat and distribution information, and distribution maps. Volumes 2 and 3 together provide a detailed review of at-risk Alabama wildlife. Two color photographs illustrate each species to provide aids to visual identifi- cation and range within Alabama. Entries in these volumes also describe the factors that place each species in danger. Freeman and Custis Red River Expedition of 1806: Two Hundred Years Later. Symposium Proceedings. Laurence M. Hardy. 2004. Museum of Life Sciences, Louisiana State University, Shreveport, LA. 368 pp. $20, softcover. The symposim celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Freeman and Custis Red River Expedition of 1806 contained a mix of papers related to the biology of the expedition and to the history and sociology of the region. This volume consists of 15 papers, including three on botany and plant ecology, five on zoology, six on history (and cartography), and one of the native American culture. the focus of the symposium was to relate what Freeman and Custis found to our present knowledge of these topics in the Red River valley. The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied. Volume I: May 1832–April 1833. Stephen S. Witte and Marsha V. Gallagher (Editors). 2008. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK. 544 pp. $85, hardcover. ISBN 9780806138886. Made famous through the paintings of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, the North American expedition of German naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied in 1832–34 was the first scientific exploration of the Missouri River’s upper reaches since the epic journey of Lewis and Clark almost thirty years earlier. Maximilian’s journal has never been presented fully in English—until now. This collector’s-quality, oversized volume, the first of a three-volume set, draws on the Maximilian-Bodmer Collection at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE. The North American Journals offer an incomparable view of the upper Missouri and its Native peoples at a pivotal moment in the history of the American West. This meticulous account, newly translated with extensive modern annotation, faithfully reproduces Maximilian’s 110 drawings and watercolors as well as his own notes, asides, and appendices. Volume I, which covers May 1832 to April 1833, documents Maximilian’s voyage to North America and his first encounters with Indians upon reaching the West. This is an essential resource for nineteenth-century western American history and a work of lasting value. Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species. Michael Lannoo (Editor). 2005. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1115 pp. $100, hardcover. ISBN 9780520235922. This benchmark volume documents in comprehensive detail a major environmental crisis: rapidly declining amphibian populations and the disturbing developmental problems that are increasingly prevalent within many amphibian species. Horror stories on this topic have been featured in the scientific and popular press over the past fifteen years, invariably asking what amphibian declines are telling us about the state of the environment. Are declines harbingers of devastated ecosystems or simply weird refl ections of a peculiar amphibian world? This compendium—presenting new data, reviews of current literature, and comprehensive species accounts—reinforces what scientists have begun to suspect, that amphibians are a lens through which the state of the environment can be viewed more clearly. And, that the view is alarming and presages serious concerns for all life, including that of our own species. The first part of this work consists of more than fifty essays covering topics from the causes of declines to conservation, sur190 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 9, No.1 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. veys and monitoring, and education. The second part consists of species accounts describing the life history and natural history of every known amphibian species in the United States. Alexander von Humboldt and the Botanical Explorations of the Americas. H. Walter Lack. 2004. Prestel, Munich, Germany. 288 pp. $185, hardcover. ISBN 9783791341422. This lavishly produced deluxe publication reveals never-beforeseen botanical masterpieces from one of history's great scientists and researchers. Based on material collected during Alexander von Humboldt’s historic expedition to the Americas and Cuba—hailed by many as the “scientific discovery of America”— these intricate and delicately tinted prints record his botanical findings as he traveled through jungles, across rivers, and over mountainous terrain. The illustrations in the book give the English and Latin names of the plants and are followed by an exhaustive index. Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Humboldt’s death, this collection of botanical prints contains works that have never been published before. Internationally renowned botanist H. Walter Lack lends his expertise to a fascinating essay that discusses Humboldt’s significant contributions to the world of botany and scientific research. Technically precise, the prints are equally appealing to anyone who appreciates fine art and botanical illustration. Herbert Spencer and the Invention of Modern Life. Mark Francis. 2007. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 464 pp. $45, hardcover. ISBN 9780801445903. The ideas of the English philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) profoundly shaped Victorian thought regarding evolutionary theory, the philosophy of science, sociology, and politics. In his day, Spencer's works ranked alongside those of Darwin and Marx in their importance to the development of disciplines as wide-ranging as sociology, anthropology, political theory, philosophy, and psychology. Yet during his lifetime?and certainly in the decades that followed?Spencer has been widely misunderstood. Both lauded and disparaged as the father of Social Darwinism (it was Spencer who coined the phrase ?survival of the fittest?), and as an apologist for individualism and unrestrained capitalism, he was, in fact, none of these; he was instead a subtle and complex thinker. In his major new intellectual biography of Spencer, Mark Francis uses archival material and contemporary printed sources to create a fascinating portrait of a man who attempted to explain modern life in all its biological, psychological, and sociological forms through a unique philosophical and scientific system that bridged the gap between empiricism and metaphysics. Vastly infl uential in England and beyond?particularly the United States and Asia?his philosophy was, as Francis shows, systematic and rigorous. Despite the success he found in the realm of ideas, Spencer was an unhappy man. Francis reveals how Spencer felt permanently crippled by the Christian values he had absorbed during childhood, and was incapable of romantic love, as became clear during his relationship with the novelist George Eliot. Elegantly written, provocative, and rich in insight, Herbert Spencer and the Invention of Modern Life is an exceptional work of scholarship that not only dispels the misinformation surrounding Spencer but also illuminates the broader cultural and intellectual history of the nineteenth century.