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Brief History of Herpetology in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, with a List of Type Specimens of Recent Amphibians and Reptiles Cover

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Brief History of Herpetology in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, with a List of Type Specimens of Recent Amphibians and Reptiles

Javier A. Rodriguez-Robles

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is a leading center of herpetological research in the United States. This monograph offers a brief account of the principal figures associated with the collection and of the most important events in the history of herpetology in the MVZ during its first 93 years, and lists all type specimens of recent amphibians and nonavian reptiles in the collection.

Although the MVZ has existed since 1908, until 1945 there was no formal curator for the collection of amphibians and nonavian reptiles. Since that time Robert C. Stebbins, David B. Wake, Harry W. Greene, Javier A. Rodríguez-Robles (in an interim capacity), and Craig Moritz have served in that position.

The herpetological collection of the MVZ was begun on March 13, 1909, with a collection of approximately 430 specimens from southern California and as of December 31, 2001, contained 232,254 specimens. Taxonomically, the collection is strongest in salamanders, accounting for 99,176 specimens, followed by "lizards" (squamate reptiles other than snakes and amphisbaenians, 63,439), frogs (40,563), snakes (24,937), turtles (2,643), caecilians (979), amphisbaenians (451), crocodilians (63), and tuataras (3). Whereas the collection's emphasis historically has been on the western United States and on California in particular, representatives of taxa from many other parts of the world are present.

The 1,765 type specimens in the MVZ comprise 120 holotypes, three neotypes, three syntypes, and 1,639 paratopotypes and paratypes; 83 of the holotypes were originally described as full species. Of the 196 amphibian and nonavian reptilian taxa represented by type material, most were collected in México (63) and California (USA, 54).

The Appendix of the monograph presents a list of curators, graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research assistants, curatorial associates, curatorial assistants, and visiting faculty who have conducted research on the biology of amphibians and reptiles while in residence in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as of December 31, 2001.

Brutes or Angels Cover

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Brutes or Angels

Human Possibility in the Age of Biotechnology

James T. Bradley

A guide to the rapidly progressing Age of Biotechnology, Brutes or Angels provides basic information on a wide array of new technologies in the life sciences, along with the ethical issues raised by each.

With stem cell research, Dolly the cloned sheep, in vitro fertilization, age retardation, and pharmaceutical mind enhancement, humankind is now faced with decisions that it has never before had to consider. The thoughtfulness, or lack of it, that we bring to those decisions will largely determine the future character of the living world.

Brutes or Angels will facilitate informed choice making about the personal use of biotechnologies and the formulation of public policies governing their development and use. Ten biotechnologies that impact humans are considered: stem cell research, embryo selection, human genomics, gene therapies, human reproductive cloning, age retardation, cognition enhancement, the engineering of nonhuman organisms, nanobiology, and synthetic biology.

With deft and assured use of metaphors, analogies, diagrams, and photographs, James T. Bradley introduces important biological principles and the basic procedures used in biotechnology. Various ethical issues--personhood, personal identity, privacy, ethnic discrimination, distributive justice, authenticity and human nature, and the significance of mortality in the human life cycle--are presented in a clear and unbiased manner. Personal reflection and group dialogue are encouraged by questions at the end of each chapter, making this book not only a general guide to better informed and nuanced thinking on these complex and challenging topics but also an appropriate text for bioethics courses in university science departments and for adult education classes.

Standing at the beginning of the twenty-first century, with burgeoning abilities to enhance and even create life in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago, humans have an awesome responsibility to themselves and other species. Brutes or Angelsinvites us to engage each other in meaningful dialogue by listening, gathering information, formulating thoughtful views, and remaining open to new knowledge and ethical argumentation.

The Bulb Hunter Cover

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The Bulb Hunter

Chris Wiesinger

Dubbed the Bulb Hunter in a 2006 New York Times feature story, Chris Wiesinger took his passion for bulbs to vacant lots, abandoned houses, cemeteries, and construction sites throughout the South in search of botanical survivors whose descendants had never seen the inside of a big-box chain store. The vintage specimens Wiesinger sought came from hardy, historic stock, adapted to human neglect and hot climates, reappearing faithfully over decades without care or cultivation.

Traveling back roads, speaking to strangers, looking for the telltale color of a remnant iris or lily, Wiesinger started digging, then began trying to grow and share the bulbs he collected. From its humble beginnings on an East Texas sweet potato farm, his Southern Bulb Company has now grown into a full-fledged business known throughout the world, propagating and selling the rare, tough, heritage plants Wiesinger still seeks out and champions.

Nicknamed “Flower” by his fellow cadets at Texas A&M University, Wiesinger relates his adventures in bulb hunting, telling stories of the bulbs he has discovered and weaving in his own life story as a student, plantsman, and small business owner. He then teams with veteran horticulturist William C. Welch to provide advice on how to grow and appreciate the bulbs that have been rescued and reintroduced. This “primer” gives gardeners information on what bulbs to grow where, when to plant them and when they bloom, and how to incorporate them with other plants in the landscape.

Finally, Welch describes how bulbs have enhanced his personal gardens and brought him and Wiesinger together in the common cause of heirloom gardening. Entertaining, informative, and loaded with beautiful photographs, The Bulb Hunter is sure to be a favorite of gardeners and plant lovers everywhere.

California Condors in the Pacific Northwest Cover

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California Condors in the Pacific Northwest

Jesse D'Elia and Susan M. Haig

California’s Fading Wildflowers Cover

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California’s Fading Wildflowers

Lost Legacy and Biological Invasions

Richard A. Minnich

Early Spanish explorers in the late eighteenth century found springtime California covered with spectacular carpets of wildflowers from San Francisco to San Diego. Yet today, invading plant species have devastated this nearly forgotten botanical heritage. In this lively, vividly detailed work, Richard A. Minnich synthesizes a unique and wide-ranging array of sources—from the historic accounts of those early explorers to the writings of early American botanists in the nineteenth century, newspaper accounts in the twentieth century, and modern ecological theory—to give the most comprehensive historical analysis available of the dramatic transformation of California's wildflower prairies. At the same time, his groundbreaking book challenges much current thinking on the subject, critically evaluating the hypothesis that perennial bunchgrasses were once a dominant feature of California's landscape and instead arguing that wildflowers filled this role. As he examines the changes in the state's landscape over the past three centuries, Minnich brings new perspectives to topics including restoration ecology, conservation, and fire management in a book that will change our of view of native California.

A Catalogue of the Living Marine Bivalve Molluscs of China Cover

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A Catalogue of the Living Marine Bivalve Molluscs of China

F.R. Bernard, Ying-Ya Cai, Brian Morton

This is a comprehensive catalogue of the living marine Bivalvia of China. Over 1,140 species are arranged in systematic order reflecting the phylogenetic relationships of the supraspecific taxa, together with almost 3,500 binomina which fall into synonymy.

Ceremonial Time Cover

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Ceremonial Time

Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile

John Hanson Mitchell

"Ceremonial time" occurs when past, present, and future can be perceived simultaneously. Experienced only rarely, usually during ritual dance, this escape from linear time is the vehicle for John Mitchell's extraordinary writing. In this, his most magical book, he traces the life of a single square mile in New England, from the last ice age through years of human history, including bear shamans, colonists, witches, local farmers, and encroaching industrial "parks."

Chimeras and Consciousness Cover

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Chimeras and Consciousness

Evolution of the Sensory Self

Edited by Lynn Margulis, Celeste A. Asikainen, and Wolfgang E. Krumbein

Scientists elucidate the astounding collective sensory capacity of Earth and its evolution through time.

The Chora of Metaponto 2 Cover

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The Chora of Metaponto 2

Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sites

Studies by Sándor Bökönyi and Erika Gál

From 1974 to the present, the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin has carried out archaeological excavations in the ancient territory (chora) of Metaponto, now located in the modern province of Basilicata on the southern coast of Italy. This wide-ranging investigation, which covers a number of sites and a time period ranging from prehistory to the Roman Empire, has unearthed a wealth of new information about the ancient rural economy in southern Italy. These discoveries will be published in a multi-volume series titled The Chora of Metaponto. This volume on archaeozoology—the study of animal remains from archaeological sites—is the second in the series, following The Chora of Metaponto: The Necropoleis (1998). Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sites describes the animal remains found throughout Metaponto and discusses what they reveal about ancient practices of hunting and herding, domestication and importation of new breeds, people’s attitudes toward animals, and what animal remains indicate about past environments. A chapter devoted to bird bones, which are a relatively rare find because of their fragility, provides high quality information on the environment and methods of fowling, as well as on the beliefs and symbolism associated with birds. The final chapter covers tools—some simple, others sophisticated and richly decorated—made from animal bones.

The Classification of Sex Cover

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The Classification of Sex

Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge

by Donna J. Drucker

Alfred C. Kinsey’s revolutionary studies of human sexual behavior are world-renowned. His meticulous methods of data collection, from comprehensive entomological assemblies to personal sex history interviews, raised the bar for empirical evidence to an entirely new level. In The Classification of Sex, Donna J. Drucker presents an original analysis of Kinsey’s scientific career in order to uncover the roots of his research methods. She describes how his enduring interest as an entomologist and biologist in the compilation and organization of mass data sets structured each of his classification projects. As Drucker shows, Kinsey’s lifelong mission was to find scientific truth in numbers and through observation—and to record without prejudice in the spirit of a true taxonomist. Kinsey’s doctoral work included extensive research of the gall wasp, where he gathered and recorded variations in over six million specimens. His classification and reclassification of Cynips led to the speciation of the genus that remains today. During his graduate training, Kinsey developed a strong interest in evolution and the links between entomological and human behavior studies. In 1920, he joined Indiana University as a professor in zoology, and soon published an introductory text on biology, followed by a coauthored field guide to edible wild plants. In 1938, Kinsey began teaching a noncredit course on marriage, where he openly discussed sexual behavior and espoused equal opportunity for orgasmic satisfaction in marital relationships. Soon after, he began gathering case histories of sexual behavior. As a pioneer in the nascent field of sexology, Kinsey saw that the key to its cogency was grounded in observation combined with the collection and classification of mass data. To support the institutionalization of his work, he cofounded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947. He and his staff eventually conducted over eighteen thousand personal interviews about sexual behavior, and in 1948 he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, to be followed in 1953 by Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As Drucker’s study shows, Kinsey’s scientific rigor and his early use of data recording methods and observational studies were unparalleled in his field. Those practices shaped his entire career and produced a wellspring of new information, whether he was studying gall wasp wings, writing biology textbooks, tracing patterns of evolution, or developing a universal theory of human sexuality.

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