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Collective Animal Behavior Cover

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Collective Animal Behavior

David J. T. Sumpter

Fish travel in schools, birds migrate in flocks, honeybees swarm, and ants build trails. How and why do these collective behaviors occur? Exploring how coordinated group patterns emerge from individual interactions, Collective Animal Behavior reveals why animals produce group behaviors and examines their evolution across a range of species.

Providing a synthesis of mathematical modeling, theoretical biology, and experimental work, David Sumpter investigates how animals move and arrive together, how they transfer information, how they make decisions and synchronize their activities, and how they build collective structures. Sumpter constructs a unified appreciation of how different group-living species coordinate their behaviors and why natural selection has produced these groups. For the first time, the book combines traditional approaches to behavioral ecology with ideas about self-organization and complex systems from physics and mathematics. Sumpter offers a guide for working with key models in this area along with case studies of their application, and he shows how ideas about animal behavior can be applied to understanding human social behavior.

Containing a wealth of accessible examples as well as qualitative and quantitative features, Collective Animal Behavior will interest behavioral ecologists and all scientists studying complex systems.

Common Spiders of North America Cover

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Common Spiders of North America

Richard A. Bradley

Spiders are among the most diverse groups of terrestrial invertebrates, yet they are among the least studied and understood. This first comprehensive guide to all 68 spider families in North America beautifully illustrates 469 of the most commonly encountered species. Group keys enable identification by web type and other observable details, and species descriptions include identification tips, typical habitat, geographic distribution, and behavioral notes. A concise illustrated introduction to spider biology and anatomy explains spider relationships. This book is a critical resource for curious naturalists who want to understand this ubiquitous and ecologically critical component of our biosphere.

Communities and Ecosystems Cover

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Communities and Ecosystems

Linking the Aboveground and Belowground Components (MPB-34)

David A. Wardle

Most of the earth's terrestrial species live in the soil. These organisms, which include many thousands of species of fungi and nematodes, shape aboveground plant and animal life as well as our climate and atmosphere. Indeed, all terrestrial ecosystems consist of interdependent aboveground and belowground compartments. Despite this, aboveground and belowground ecology have been conducted largely in isolation. This book represents the first major synthesis to focus explicitly on the connections between aboveground and belowground subsystems--and their importance for community structure and ecosystem functioning.

David Wardle integrates a vast body of literature from numerous fields--including population ecology, ecosystem ecology, ecophysiology, ecological theory, soil science, and global-change biology--to explain the key conceptual issues relating to how aboveground and belowground communities affect one another and the processes that each component carries out. He then applies these concepts to a host of critical questions, including the regulation and function of biodiversity as well as the consequences of human-induced global change in the form of biological invasions, extinctions, atmospheric carbon-dioxide enrichment, nitrogen deposition, land-use change, and global warming.

Through ambitious theoretical synthesis and a tremendous range of examples, Wardle shows that the key biotic drivers of community and ecosystem properties involve linkages between aboveground and belowground food webs, biotic interaction, the spatial and temporal dynamics of component organisms, and, ultimately, the ecophysiological traits of those organisms that emerge as ecological drivers. His conclusions will propel theoretical and empirical work throughout ecology.

Complex Population Dynamics Cover

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Complex Population Dynamics

A Theoretical/Empirical Synthesis (MPB-35)

Peter Turchin

Why do organisms become extremely abundant one year and then seem to disappear a few years later? Why do population outbreaks in particular species happen more or less regularly in certain locations, but only irregularly (or never at all) in other locations? Complex population dynamics have fascinated biologists for decades. By bringing together mathematical models, statistical analyses, and field experiments, this book offers a comprehensive new synthesis of the theory of population oscillations.

Peter Turchin first reviews the conceptual tools that ecologists use to investigate population oscillations, introducing population modeling and the statistical analysis of time series data. He then provides an in-depth discussion of several case studies--including the larch budmoth, southern pine beetle, red grouse, voles and lemmings, snowshoe hare, and ungulates--to develop a new analysis of the mechanisms that drive population oscillations in nature. Through such work, the author argues, ecologists can develop general laws of population dynamics that will help turn ecology into a truly quantitative and predictive science.

Complex Population Dynamics integrates theoretical and empirical studies into a major new synthesis of current knowledge about population dynamics. It is also a pioneering work that sets the course for ecology's future as a predictive science.

Controversial Bodies Cover

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Controversial Bodies

Thoughts on the Public Display of Plastinated Corpses

edited by John D. Lantos, M.D.

Controversial, fascinating, disturbing, and often beautiful, plastinated human bodies—such as those found at Body Worlds exhibitions throughout the world—have gripped the public's imagination. These displays have been lauded as educational, sparked protests, and drawn millions of visitors. This book looks at the powerful sway these corpses hold over their living audiences everywhere. Plastination was invented in the 1970s by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens. The process transforms living tissues into moldable plastic that can then be hardened into a permanent shape. Von Hagens first exhibited his expertly dissected, artfully posed plastinated bodies in Japan in 1995. Since then, his shows have continuously attracted so many paying customers that they have inspired imitators, brought accusations of unethical or even illegal behavior, and ignited vigorous debates among scientists, educators, religious leaders, and law enforcement officials. These lively, thought-provoking, and sometimes personal essays reflect on such public displays from ethical, legal, cultural, religious, pedagogical, and aesthetic perspectives. They examine what lies behind the exhibitions' popularity and explore the ramifications of turning corpses into a spectacle of amusement. Contributions from bioethicists, historians, physicians, anatomists, theologians, and novelists dig deeply into issues that compel, upset, and unsettle us all.

The Corals of Hong Kong Cover

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The Corals of Hong Kong

P.J.B. Scott

This book provides a comprehensive and up to date review and critique of corporate governance reforms and related financial reforms in China during the country’s transition to a market economy, involving its enterprise, banking and capital markets sectors.

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The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds

Richard Crossley

This stunningly illustrated book from acclaimed birder and photographer Richard Crossley revolutionizes field guide design by providing the first real-life approach to identification. Whether you are a beginner, expert, or anywhere in between, The Crossley ID Guide will vastly improve your ability to identify birds.

Unlike other guides, which provide isolated individual photographs or illustrations, this is the first book to feature large, lifelike scenes for each species. These scenes--640 in all--are composed from more than 10,000 of the author's images showing birds in a wide range of views--near and far, from different angles, in various plumages and behaviors, including flight, and in the habitat in which they live. These beautiful compositions show how a bird's appearance changes with distance, and give equal emphasis to characteristics experts use to identify birds: size, structure and shape, behavior, probability, and color. This is the first book to convey all of these features visually--in a single image--and to reinforce them with accurate, concise text. Each scene provides a wealth of detailed visual information that invites and rewards careful study, but the most important identification features can be grasped instantly by anyone.

By making identification easier, more accurate, and more fun than ever before, The Crossley ID Guide will completely redefine how its users look at birds. Essential for all birders, it also promises to make new birders of many people who have despaired of using traditional guides.

  • Revolutionary. This book changes field guide design to make you a better birder
  • A picture says a thousand words. The most comprehensive guide: 640 stunning scenes created from 10,000 of the author's photographs
  • Reality birding. Lifelike in-focus scenes show birds in their habitats, from near and far, and in all plumages and behaviors
  • Teaching and reference. The first book to accurately portray all the key identification characteristics: size, shape, behavior, probability, and color
  • Practice makes perfect. An interactive learning experience to sharpen and test field identification skills
  • Bird like the experts. The first book to simplify birding and help you understand how to bird like the best
  • An interactive website--www.crossleybirds.com--includes expanded captions for the plates and species updates

The Cultural Context of Biodiversity Cover

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The Cultural Context of Biodiversity

Seen and Unseen Dimensions of Indigenous Knowledge among Q'eqchi' Communities in Guatemala

By Petra Maass

How are biological diversity, protected areas, indigenous knowledge and religious worldviews related? From an anthropological perspective, this book provides an introduction into the complex subject of conservation policies that cannot be addressed without recognising the encompassing relationship between discursive, political, economic, social and ecological facets. By facing these interdependencies across global, national and local dynamics, it draws on an ethnographic case study among Maya-Q'eqchi' communities living in the margins of protected areas in Guatemala. In documenting the cultural aspects of landscape, the study explores the coherence of diverse expressions of indigenous knowledge. It intends to remind of cultural values and beliefs closely tied to subsistence activities and ritual practices that define local perceptions of the natural environment. The basic idea is to illustrate that there are different ways of knowing and reasoning, seeing and endowing the world with meaning, which include visible material and invisible interpretative understandings. These tend to be underestimated issues in international debates and may provide an alternative approach upon which conservation initiatives responsive to the needs of the humans involved should be based on.

Cyperaceae Cover

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Cyperaceae

Sedges

Robert H. Mohlenbrock

The first in a series of four illustrated guides to identifying aquatic and standing water plants in the central Midwest, this convenient reference volume covers the 183 species of Cyperaceae. Robert H. Mohlenbrock includes three types of plants: submergents, those that spend their entire lives with their vegetative parts either completely submerged or at least floating on the water’s surface; emergents, which are typically rooted underwater with their vegetative parts standing out of water; and a third category of plants that live most of their lives out of water, but which may live in water at least three months a year.


Mohlenbrock provides descriptions, illustrations, and ways to identify any plant in the sedge family (Cyperaceae) in the states of Kentucky (except for the Cumberland region), Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. With taxa arranged alphabetically, the volume is well organized and easy to use. In addition, basic synonymy, description, distribution, comments, and line drawings that show the habits and distinguishing features for each plant. Habitat and nomenclatural notes are also listed, as are the official wetland designations given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Cyperaceae is a useful standard reference for state and federal employees who deal with aquatic and wetland plants and environmental conservation and mitigation issues and an essential guide for students and instructors in college and university courses where the identification of aquatic and wetland plants is emphasized.

Darwinian Agriculture Cover

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Darwinian Agriculture

How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture

R. Ford Denison

As human populations grow and resources are depleted, agriculture will need to use land, water, and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. Darwinian Agriculture presents an entirely new approach to these challenges, one that draws on the principles of evolution and natural selection.

R. Ford Denison shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can use Darwinian insights to identify promising routes for crop genetic improvement and avoid costly dead ends. Denison explains why plant traits that have been genetically optimized by individual selection--such as photosynthesis and drought tolerance--are bad candidates for genetic improvement. Traits like plant height and leaf angle, which determine the collective performance of plant communities, offer more room for improvement. Agriculturalists can also benefit from more sophisticated comparisons among natural communities and from the study of wild species in the landscapes where they evolved.

Darwinian Agriculture reveals why it is sometimes better to slow or even reverse evolutionary trends when they are inconsistent with our present goals, and how we can glean new ideas from natural selection's marvelous innovations in wild species.

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