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The Animal Answer Guide
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.
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
A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
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.
The Animal Answer Guide
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.
Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise
The biotech arena emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, when molecular biology, one of the fastest-moving areas of basic science in the twentieth century, met the business world. Gene Jockeys is a detailed study of the biotech projects that led to five of the first ten recombinant DNA drugs to be approved for medical use in the United States: human insulin, human growth hormone, alpha interferon, erythropoietin, and tissue plasminogen activator. Drawing on corporate documents obtained from patent litigation, as well as interviews with the ambitious biologists who called themselves gene jockeys, historian Nicolas Rasmussen chronicles the remarkable, and often secretive, work of venture capitalists, stock market investors, and scientist-entrepreneurs who built a new domain between academia and the drug industry in the pursuit of intellectual rewards and big payouts. In contrast to some who critique the rise of biotechnology, Rasmussen contends that biotech was not a swindle, even if the public did pay a very high price for the development of what began as public scientific resources. Within the biotech enterprise, the work of corporate scientists went well beyond what biologists had already accomplished within universities, and it accelerated the medical use of the new drugs by several years. In his technically detailed but approachable narrative, Rasmussen focuses on the visible and often heavy hands that construct and maintain the markets in public goods like science. He looks closely at how science follows money, and vice versa, as researchers respond to the pressures and potential rewards of commercially viable innovations. In biotechnology, many of those who engaged in crafting markets for genetically engineered drugs were biologists themselves who were in fact trying to do science. This book captures that heady, fleeting moment when a biologist could expect to do great science through the private sector and be rewarded with both wealth and scientific acclaim.
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.
The Secret World of America's Most Valuable Plant
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.
Bromus to Paspalum, Second Edition
Since the publication of the first edition of Grasses: Bromus to Paspalum in 1972, twenty-two additional taxa of grasses have been discovered in Illinois that are properly placed in this volume. In addition, numerous nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants previously discovered, and many distributional records have been added. New keys have been prepared for each genus where additional species from Illinois are known. For new species, full-page illustrations are provided. This second edition updates the status of Illinois grasses. The book features 263 figures from the first edition plus 21 new figures for this edition by Paul W. Nelson.
Genera of grasses included in this work are Aegilops, Agropyron, Agrostis, Aira, Alopecurus, Anthoxanthum, Avena, Beckmannia, Briza, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Cinna, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Elyhordeum, Elymus, Elytrigia, Festuca, Hierochloe, Holcus, Hordeum, Koeleria, Lolium, Milium, Paspalum, Pennisetum, Phalaris, Phleum, Poa, Puccinellia, Sclerochloa, Secale, Sphenopholis, Torreyochloa, Triticum, and Vulpia.
Panicum to Danthonia
Since the publication of the first edition of Grasses: Panicum to Danthonia in 1973, twenty additional taxa of grasses have been discovered in Illinois that are properly placed in this volume. In addition, numerous nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants already known from the state, and many distributional records have been added. This second edition updates the status of grasses in Illinois. Paul W. Nelson has provided illustrations for all of the additions.
Because the nature of grass structures is generally so different from that of other flowering plants, a special terminology is applied to them. In his introduction, Robert H. Mohlenbrock cites these terms, with descriptions that make the identification of unknown specimens possible. Mohlenbrock’s division of the grass family into subfamilies and tribes is a major departure from the sequence usually found in most floristic works in North America.
Synonyms that have been applied to species in the northeastern United States are given under each species. A description based primarily on Illinois material covers the more important features of the species. The common names—Paflic Grass, Billion Dollar Grass or Japanese Millett, Thread Love Grass, and Goose Grass—are the ones used locally in the state. The habitat designation and dot maps showing county distribution of each grass are provided only for grasses in Illinois, but the overall range for each species is also given.