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Flowering Plants Cover

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Flowering Plants

Willows to Mustards

Robert H. Mohlenbrock

This eighth volume in the comprehen­sive Illustrated Flora of Illinois series is the seventh volume devoted to flowering plants (the eighth volume is devoted to ferns) and the second treating dicotyledons, which include such well-known plants as roses, peas, mustards, mints, nightshades, milkweeds, and asters. The previous volume on dicots, Flower­ing Plants: Hollies to Loasas, was pub­lished in 1978.

 

In the present volume, Mohlenbrock includes three orders of vascular plants encompassing five families. The orders are Salicales and Tamaricales, of the Salicaceae and Tamaricaceae families, and Capparidales, of the Capparidaceae, Re­sedaceae, and Brassicaceae families. In all, 44 genera and 117 species are treat­ed in this volume, each species illustrat­ed in detail.

Flowering Plants: Smartweeds to Hazelnuts Cover

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Flowering Plants: Smartweeds to Hazelnuts

Robert M. Mohlenbrock and Paul M. Thomson Jr.

The Appendix in this second edition of Smartweeds to Hazelnuts holds fourteen new plant illustrations, new information on the descriptions and the geographical locations of plants in the first edition, and revised identification keys.

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Francis Galton

Pioneer of Heredity and Biometry

Michael Bulmer

If not for the work of his half cousin Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory might have met a somewhat different fate. In particular, with no direct evidence of natural selection and no convincing theory of heredity to explain it, Darwin needed a mathematical explanation of variability and heredity. Galton's work in biometry—the application of statistical methods to the biological sciences—laid the foundations for precisely that. This book offers readers a compelling portrait of Galton as the "father of biometry," tracing the development of his ideas and his accomplishments, and placing them in their scientific context. Though Michael Bulmer introduces readers to the curious facts of Galton's life—as an explorer, as a polymath and member of the Victorian intellectual aristocracy, and as a proponent of eugenics—his chief concern is with Galton's pioneering studies of heredity, in the course of which he invented the statistical tools of regression and correlation. Bulmer describes Galton's early ambitions and experiments—his investigations of problems of evolutionary importance (such as the evolution of gregariousness and the function of sex), and his movement from the development of a physiological theory to a purely statistical theory of heredity, based on the properties of the normal distribution. This work, culminating in the law of ancestral heredity, also put Galton at the heart of the bitter conflict between the "ancestrians" and the "Mendelians" after the rediscovery of Mendelism in 1900. A graceful writer and an expert biometrician, Bulmer details the eventual triumph of biometrical methods in the history of quantitative genetics based on Mendelian principles, which underpins our understanding of evolution today.

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Freshwater Mussel Ecology

A Multifactor Approach to Distribution and Abundance

David L. Strayer

Pearly mussels (Unionoidea) live in lakes, rivers, and streams around the world. These bivalves play important roles in freshwater ecosystems and were once both culturally and economically valuable as sources of food, pearls, and mother-of-pearl. Today, however, hundreds of species of these mussels are extinct or endangered. David L. Strayer provides a critical synthesis of the factors that control the distribution and abundance of pearly mussels. Using empirical analyses and models, he assesses the effects of dispersal, habitat quality, availability of fish hosts, adequate food, predators, and parasites. He also addresses conservation issues that apply to other inhabitants of fresh waters around the globe and other pressing issues in contemporary ecology.

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Frogs

The Animal Answer Guide

Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons

Frogs are amazingly diverse—ranging from the massive goliath frog, which weighs several pounds, to the recently discovered gold frog, which measures a mere three-eighths of an inch when fully grown—and have inhabited the earth for more than 200 million years. Today, however, these amphibians face more challenges than any other vertebrate group. In this fun and informative book, herpetologists Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons answer common and not-so-common questions people may have about these fascinating animals. Dorcas and Gibbons discuss how frogs evolved, which species currently exist in the world, and why some have recently gone extinct. They reveal what frogs eat and what eats them, their role in cultures across the globe, why many populations are declining and what we can do to reverse this dangerous trend, why there are deformed frogs, and much more. They answer expected questions such as “What is the difference between a frog and a toad?” and “Why do some people lick toads?” and unexpected ones such as “Why do some frogs lay their eggs in the leaves of trees?” and “Do frogs feel pain?” The authors’ easy-to-understand yet thorough explanations provide insight into the amazing biology of this amphibian group. In addressing conservation questions, Dorcas and Gibbons highlight the frightening implications of the current worldwide amphibian crisis, which many scientists predict will bring extinction rates experienced by frog species to levels not seen in any vertebrate animal group in millions of years. Packed with facts and featuring two color galleries and 70 black-and-white photographs, Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide is sure to address the questions on the minds of curious naturalists.

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Frogs of the United States and Canada, 2-vol. set

C. Kenneth Dodd Jr.

With many frog populations declining or disappearing and developmental malformations and disease afflicting others, scientists, conservationists, and concerned citizens need up-to-date, accurate information. Frogs of the United States and Canada is a comprehensive resource for those trying to protect amphibians as well as for researchers and wildlife managers who study biodiversity. From acrobatic tree frogs to terrestrial toads, C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. offers an unparalleled synthesis of the biology, behavior, and conservation of frogs in North America. This two-volume, fully referenced resource provides color photographs and range maps for 106 native and nonindigenous species and includes detailed information on - past and present distribution - life history and demography - reproduction and diet - landscape ecology and evolution - - diseases, parasites, and threats from toxic substances - conservation and management

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Gathering Moss

A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Winner of the 2005 John Burroughs Medal Award for Natural History Writing

Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.

In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

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Geckos

The Animal Answer Guide

Aaron M. Bauer

Q: How do geckos walk across ceilings? A: Millions of hair-like setae on each foot. Q: Where do geckos come from? A: Throughout the world. Usually where it’s warm. Q: How many species of geckos are there? A: Close to 1,500 and counting! Q: What do they eat? A: Insects mostly. Discover the biology, natural history, and diversity of geckos—the acrobatic little lizards made famous by a car insurance ad campaign. Lizard biologist and gecko expert Aaron Bauer answers deceptively simple questions with surprising and little-known facts. Readers can explore color photographs that reveal the natural wonder and beauty of the gecko form and are further informed by images of how geckos live in their natural habitats. Although written for nonexperts, Geckos also provides a carefully selected bibliography and a new list of all known species that will be of interest to herpetologists. Anyone who owns a gecko, has seen them in the wild, or has wondered about them will appreciate this gem of a book.

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Genetics, Disability, and Deafness

John Vickrey Van Cleve, Editor

Drawn from the Genetics, Disability and Deafness Conference at Gallaudet University in 2003, this trenchant volume brings together 13 essays from science, history, and the humanities, history and the present, to show the many ways that disability, deafness, and the new genetics interact and what that interaction means for society. Pulitzer-prize-winning author Louis Menand begins this volume by expressing the position shared by most authors in this wide-ranging forum—the belief in the value of human diversity and skepticism of actions that could eliminate it through modification of the human genome. Nora Groce creates an interpretive framework for discussing the relationship between culture and disability. From the historical perspective, Brian H. Greenwald comments upon the real “toll” taken by A. G. Bell’s insistence upon oralism, and Joseph J. Murray recounts the 19th century debate over whether deaf-deaf marriages should be encouraged. John S. Schuchman’s chilling account of deafness and eugenics in the Nazi era adds wrenching reinforcement to the impetus to include disabled people in genetics debates. Mark Willis illustrates the complexity of genetic alterations through his reaction to his own genetic makeup, in that he is happy to combat his heart disease with genetic tools but refuses to participate in studies about his blindness, which he considers a rich variation in human experience. Anna Middleton describes widely reported examples of couples attempting to use genetic knowledge and technology both to select for and against a gene that causes deafness. Chapters by Orit Dagan, Karen B. Avraham, Kathleen S. Arnos, and Arti Pandya elucidate the promise of current research to clarify the complexity and choices presented by breakthroughs in genetic engineering. In his essay on the epidemiology of inherited deafness, geneticist Walter E. Nance emphasizes the importance of science in offering individuals knowledge from which they can fashion their own decisions. Christopher Krentz reviews past and contemporary fictional accounts of human alteration that raise moral questions about the ever-continuing search for human perfection. Michael Bérubé concludes this extraordinary collection with his forceful argument that disability should be considered democratically in this era of new genetics to ensure the full participation of disabled people themselves in all decisions that might affect them.

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Ginseng Dreams

The Secret World of America's Most Valuable Plant

Kristin Johannsen

American Ginseng has a strange and perilous history. It has one of the longest germination periods of any known species, and only two environments in the world have offered the ideal growing conditions for wild ginseng. The first was the forests of northern China, which disappeared over a millennium ago, and the sole remaining habitat is the Appalachian Mountain region of eastern North America, an area now threatened by logging and mining. Chinese legend says that ginseng is the child of lightning. The two elemental forces of water and fire fight in an eternal struggle, pouring down rain and snow and blasting the earth with lightning. If that lightning happens to strike a spring of water, the water disappears and in its place grows a ginseng plant—the fusion of yin and yang, water and fire, darkness and light, and the life force that moves the universe. American ginseng has become perhaps the most treasured of all herbal medicines, promising good health and longevity to those who consume it. Fortunes have been made and lost on the plant, which was America’s first export to China—before our nation even existed. The strange, twisted, man-shaped root today commands as much as two thousand dollars a pound in the hot, noisy ginseng markets of Hong Kong, and a wealthy collector might pay as much as $10,000 for a single, perfect specimen. Ginseng Dreams: The Secret World of America’s Most Valuable Plant unfolds ginseng’s past and its future through the stories of seven people whose lives have become inextricably bound to it: a huckster, a field researcher, a farmer, a ginseng “missionary,” a criminal investigator, a broker, and a cancer researcher. Each of these individuals brings a different perspective to the elusive root—and each is consumed by a different dream. Kristin Johannsen threads her way though remote woodlands in the Appalachians to observe the fragile plants slowly putting out leaves as part of a three-year growing cycle, during which time the ginseng is vulnerable to both poachers and growing suburban sprawl. She contrasts this with the huge commercial growing fields of Marathon County, Wisconsin, where among potato fields and paper mills, ninety percent of the country’s ginseng is produced. Johannsen explores the brisk black market trade in the panacean root and the efforts to save the wild species and its native habitat, and she ends her story in the laboratory, where researchers are investigating ginseng’s anti-cancer properties. An absorbing journey into the many worlds of this mysterious and potent plant, Ginseng Dreams tells the extraordinary story of America’s little-known natural treasure and the spell it casts on those who seek it.

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