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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.
Human Possibility in the Age of Biotechnology
How does cooperation emerge among selfish individuals? When do people share resources, punish those they consider unfair, and engage in joint enterprises? These questions fascinate philosophers, biologists, and economists alike, for the "invisible hand" that should turn selfish efforts into public benefit is not always at work. The Calculus of Selfishness looks at social dilemmas where cooperative motivations are subverted and self-interest becomes self-defeating. Karl Sigmund, a pioneer in evolutionary game theory, uses simple and well-known game theory models to examine the foundations of collective action and the effects of reciprocity and reputation.
Focusing on some of the best-known social and economic experiments, including games such as the Prisoner's Dilemma, Trust, Ultimatum, Snowdrift, and Public Good, Sigmund explores the conditions leading to cooperative strategies. His approach is based on evolutionary game dynamics, applied to deterministic and probabilistic models of economic interactions.
Exploring basic strategic interactions among individuals guided by self-interest and caught in social traps, The Calculus of Selfishness analyzes to what extent one key facet of human nature--selfishness--can lead to cooperation.
Lost Legacy and Biological Invasions
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.
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.
A Guide to Identification and Natural History
This lavishly illustrated guide will enable you to identify the caterpillars of nearly 700 butterflies and moths found east of the Mississippi. The more than 1,200 color photographs and two dozen line drawings include numerous exceptionally striking images. The giant silk moths, tiger moths, and many other species covered include forest pests, common garden guests, economically important species, and of course, the Mescal Worm and Mexican Jumping Bean caterpillars. Full-page species accounts cover almost 400 species, with up to six images per species including an image of the adult plus succinct text with information on distribution, seasonal activity, foodplants, and life history. These accounts are generously complemented with additional images of earlier instars, closely related species, noteworthy behaviors, and other intriguing aspects of caterpillar biology.
Many caterpillars are illustrated here for the first time. Dozens of new foodplant records are presented and erroneous records are corrected. The book provides considerable information on the distribution, biology, and taxonomy of caterpillars beyond that available in other popular works on Eastern butterflies and moths. The introductory chapter covers caterpillar structure, life cycles, rearing, natural enemies, photography, and conservation. The section titled "Caterpillar Projects" will be of special interest to educators.
Given the dearth of accessible guides on the identification and natural history of caterpillars, Caterpillars of Eastern North America is a must for entomologists and museum curators, forest managers, conservation biologists and others who seek a compact, easy-to-use guide to the caterpillars of this vast region.
Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile
"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."
Using Probability to Explore Nature
Life is a chancy proposition: from the movement of molecules to the age at which we die, chance plays a key role in the natural world. Traditionally, biologists have viewed the inevitable "noise" of life as an unfortunate complication. The authors of this book, however, treat random processes as a benefit. In this introduction to chance in biology, Mark Denny and Steven Gaines help readers to apply the probability theory needed to make sense of chance events--using examples from ocean waves to spiderwebs, in fields ranging from molecular mechanics to evolution.
Through the application of probability theory, Denny and Gaines make predictions about how plants and animals work in a stochastic universe. Is it possible to pack a variety of ion channels into a cell membrane and have each operate at near-peak flow? Why are our arteries rubbery? The concept of a random walk provides the necessary insight. Is there an absolute upper limit to human life span? Could the sound of a cocktail party burst your eardrums? The statistics of extremes allows us to make the appropriate calculations. How long must you wait to see the detail in a moonlit landscape? Can you hear the noise of individual molecules? The authors provide answers to these and many other questions.
After an introduction to the basic statistical methods to be used in this book, the authors emphasize the application of probability theory to biology rather than the details of the theory itself. Readers with an introductory background in calculus will be able to follow the reasoning, and sets of problems, together with their solutions, are offered to reinforce concepts. The use of real-world examples, numerous illustrations, and chapter summaries--all presented with clarity and wit--make for a highly accessible text. By relating the theory of probability to the understanding of form and function in living things, the authors seek to pique the reader's curiosity about statistics and provide a new perspective on the role of chance in biology.