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Ethnobotany of Pohnpei Cover

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Ethnobotany of Pohnpei

Plants, People, and Island Culture

compiled and edited by Michael J. Balick

Ethnobotany of Pohnpei examines the relationship between plants, people, and traditional culture on Pohnpei, one of the four island members of the Federated States of Micronesia. Traditional culture is still very strong on Pohnpei and is biodiversity-dependent, relying on both its pristine habitats and managed landscapes; native and introduced plants and animals; and extraordinary marine life. This book is the result of a decade of research by a team of local people and international specialists carried out under the direction of the Mwoalen Wahu Ileilehn Pohnpei (Pohnpei Council of Traditional Leaders). It discusses the uses of the native and introduced plant species that have sustained human life on the island and its outlying atolls for generations, including Piper methysticum (locally known as sakau and recognized throughout the Pacific as kava), which is essential in defining cultural identity for Pohnpeians. The work also focuses on ethnomedicine, the traditional medical system used to address health conditions, and its associated beliefs.

Pohnpei, and indeed the Micronesian region, is one of the world’s great centers of botanical endemism: it is home to many plant species found nowhere else on earth. The ultimate goal of this volume is to give readers a sense of the traditional ethnobotanical knowledge that still exists in the area, to make them aware of its vulnerability to modernization, and to encourage local people to respect this ancient knowledge and keep such practices alive. It presents the findings of the most comprehensive ethnobotanical study undertaken to date in this part of Micronesia and sets a new standard for transdisciplinary research and collaboration.

387 color illus.

Chapter contributors: Kiped Albert, Michael J. Balick, Jeff Daniells, Lois Englberger, Timothy Flynn, Wayne Law, Roberta A. Lee, Dana Lee Ling, Amy Levendusky, David H. Lorence, Adelino Lorens, Jackson Phillip, Diane Ragone, Bill Raynor.

Evolution of Death, The Cover

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Evolution of Death, The

Why We Are Living Longer

In The Evolution of Death, the follow-up to Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy, also published by SUNY Press, Stanley Shostak argues that death, like life, can evolve. Observing that literature, philosophy, religion, genetics, physics, and gerontology still struggle to explain why we die, Shostak explores the mystery of death from a biological perspective. Death, Shostak claims, is not the end of a linear journey, static and indifferent to change. Instead, he suggests, the current efforts to live longer have profoundly affected our ecological niche, and we are evolving into a long-lived species. Pointing to the artificial means currently used to prolong life, he argues that as we become increasingly juvenilized in our adult life, death will become significantly and evolutionarily delayed. As bodies evolve, the embryos of succeeding generations may be accumulating the stem cells that preserve and restore, providing the resources necessary to live longer and longer. If trends like this continue, Shostak contends, future human beings may join the ranks of other animals with indefinite life spans.

The Evolution of Obesity Cover

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The Evolution of Obesity

Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin

In this sweeping exploration of the relatively recent obesity epidemic, Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin probe evolutionary biology, history, physiology, and medical science to uncover the causes of our growing girth. The unexpected answer? Our own evolutionary success. For most of the past few million years, our evolutionary ancestors' survival depended on being able to consume as much as possible when food was available and to store the excess energy for periods when it was scarce. In the developed world today, high-calorie foods are readily obtainable, yet the propensity to store fat is part of our species' heritage, leaving an increasing number of the world's people vulnerable to obesity. In an environment of abundant food, we are anatomically, physiologically, metabolically, and behaviorally programmed in a way that makes it difficult for us to avoid gaining weight. Power and Schulkin’s engagingly argued book draws on popular examples and sound science to explain our expanding waistlines and to discuss the consequences of being overweight for different demographic groups. They review the various studies of human and animal fat use and storage, including those that examine fat deposition and metabolism in men and women; chronicle cultural differences in food procurement, preparation, and consumption; and consider the influence of sedentary occupations and lifestyles. A compelling and comprehensive examination of the causes and consequences of the obesity epidemic, The Evolution of Obesity offers fascinating insights into the question, Why are we getting fatter?

The Evolution of the Human Placenta Cover

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The Evolution of the Human Placenta

Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin

The development of a fully functional placenta was crucial to the evolution of human beings. It is the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms: a mother and her fetus. The Evolution of the Human Placenta discusses everything from the organ’s methods of protecting the fetus from the mother’s own immune system to placental diseases. Starting with some of the earliest events that have constrained or influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings, in terms of evolution, are a successful, rapidly multiplying species. Our reproductive physiology would appear to be functioning quite well. However, human gestation is fraught with many poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be—if not unique—far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet quite typical in humans. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta, and in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's earliest moments.

Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges Cover

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Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges

An Introduction to the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae)

Andrew L. Hipp; Illustrations by Rachel D. Davis; Maps and Appendices by Merel R. Black and Theodore S. Cochrane

Sedges are among the world’s most diverse and ecologically important plant families, with almost two hundred species in Wisconsin alone. These grass-like plants, found mostly in wetlands, are increasingly popular with landscapers and home gardeners. Learning to identify sedges is challenging, however, and the available technical guides to the sedge family can be overwhelming to a nonspecialist. Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the largest sedge genus, Carex, which alone makes up about 7 percent of the flora of the upper Midwest.
            Written primarily for naturalists, wild plant enthusiasts, and native landscapers, this book is unique in its accessible format and illustrations. With this book, readers can learn to recognize key structures needed to identify approximately 150 Carex species found in Wisconsin. Author Andrew Hipp shows how to identify many of the major groupings of sedges that are used in guides to the genus throughout the world.
           Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges includes information on habitat and range drawn from Hipp’s extensive field experience and inspection of thousands of herbarium sheets. Primarily an identification guide, the book is also a valuable source of habitat information for landscapers, gardeners, and restorationists.

Features:
• Keys to all Wisconsin Carex species, arranged by section
• Distribution maps for all species
• Species descriptions and detailed habitat information for more than 50 common species
• Color illustrations of whole plants or details for more than 70 species
• Appendix summarizing dominant Carex species by Wisconsin habitat
• A glossary of terms
• Water-resistant paperback cover
 

Filicineae, Gymnospermae and Other Monocots Excluding Cyperaceae Cover

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Filicineae, Gymnospermae and Other Monocots Excluding Cyperaceae

Ferns, Conifers, and Other Monocots Excluding Sedges

Robert H. Mohlenbrock

The second in a series of four illustrated guides to identifying aquatic and standing water plants in the central Midwest, this convenient reference volume includes descriptions, nomenclature, ecological information, and identification keys to plants in all of the monocot families except sedges—which are covered in the first volume in the series—that are found in Kentucky (except for the Cumberland region), Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Monocots covered in this volume include ferns, conifers, grasses, rushes, orchids, duckweeds, irises, sweet flags, arrowheads, aroids, flowering rushes, pipeworts, frog-bits, arrowgrasses, naiads, pickerelweeds, pondweeds, bur reeds, cattails, and yellow-eyed grasses. 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.

With taxa arranged alphabetically, the volume is well organized and easy to use. In addition, basic synonymy, description, distribution, comments, and line drawings 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.

Filicineae, Gymnospermae, and Other Monocots, Excluding Cyperaceae is a useful standard reference for state and federal employees who deal with both aquatic and wetland plants and environmental conservation and mitigation issues. It is furthermore an essential guide for students and instructors in college and university courses focusing on the identification of aquatic and wetland plants.

Fire in the Sea Cover

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Fire in the Sea

Bioluminescence and Henry Compton's Art of the Deep

David A. McKee

The cold, stygian dark of the extreme sea depths is home to some of our planet’s strangest creatures. Even their names evoke a science fiction adventure: dragonfishes, greeneyes, viperfishes, mirrorbellies, lanternfishes. Marine biologist Henry “Hank” Compton (1928–2005) of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Rockport Marine Lab was present on some of the earliest Gulf of Mexico cruises on which these fishes were collected for the first time in Texas waters.

Upon returning, Compton would retire to the darkroom he had constructed beneath a stairwell at the lab and photograph the specimens. A talented artist, Compton then painted watercolors based on his photographs. He allowed free rein to both his scientific judgment and his artistic vision as he constructed representations of how the specimens might have appeared in the crushing pressure of their alien environment.

Compton dubbed the series of deep-water paintings “Fire in the Sea” because of the shimmering bioluminescence common to these deep-water species. Then, along with taxonomic descriptions, he drafted fanciful narratives to accompany the paintings: quirky, humorous, and sometimes cryptic stories of the fishes in their unreachable habitat.  
Professor, researcher, and author David A. McKee has taken Compton’s work, discovered in cardboard boxes following his death, and, along with others, provided chapters on bioluminescence, life in the deep, taxonomic arrangement, and life history information.

Fishes Cover

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Fishes

The Animal Answer Guide

Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette

One fish, two fish, red fish, nearly thirty thousand species of fish—or fishes, as they are properly called when speaking of multiple species. This is but one of many things the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal in answering common and not-so-common questions about this ubiquitous group of animals. Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as "How many kinds of fishes are there?" "Can fishes breathe air?" "How smart are fishes?" and "Do fishes feel pain?" They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the Devils Hole Pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; Lota lota, the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place of male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities. With over 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world's fishes from two premier experts, this fun book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.

A Flora of Southern Illinois Cover

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A Flora of Southern Illinois

Robert H. Mohlenbrock

This book will be of particular interest to those inter­ested in applied fields of biology, such as conservation, forestry, and wild life. The southern twelve counties of Illinois, a total of 4,355 square miles, comprise the area covered in this book. It is an area in which both northern and southern flora specimens abound. A wide variety of plant species grow in this area, and nearly 200 new plants not formerly identified with this area have been included in the listings.

 

Especially valuable to amateur botanists, the book is an important manual in identifying the plants that make up the native scenery of this region. Seventy-seven illustrations aid in identifying and understanding the plant communities.

Flowering Plants Cover

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Flowering Plants

Basswoods to Spurges

Robert H. Mohlenbrock

This is the fourth volume in The Illustrated Flora of Illinois devoted to dicotyledons, or dicot plants. Dicots are the greatest group of flowering plants, exceeding the monocotyle­dons, or monocots. Dicots produce a pair of seed leaves during germination while monocots produce only a single seed leaf.

 

This volume contains four orders and ten families of dicots. The orders included in this volume are Malvales, Urticales, Rhamnales, and Euphorbiales. Within the Malvales are the families Tiliaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Mal­vaceae. The families Ulmaceae, Moraceae, and Urticaceae comprise the Urticales. Rhamnaceae and Elaeagnaceae make up the Rhamnales. The Euphorbiales include only the Thymelaeceae and the Euphorbiaceae.

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