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Birdlife of Houston, Galveston, and the Upper Texas Coast

By Ted L. Eubanks Jr., Robert A. Behrstock, and Ron J. Weeks; Foreword by Victor Emanuel

In the last thirty years, the Upper Texas Coast has become a “must go” destination for birders around the globe. This book will serve as an essential companion to the customary field guide and pair of binoculars for all visitors to Houston, High Island, Galveston, Freeport, or any of the area’s other exciting birding spots. It also places the birdlife of the region, a seven-county area with a larger bird list than forty-three states, into historical and ecological contexts. Authors Eubanks, Behrstock, and Weeks—all recognized authorities on the migrant and resident birds of this region—present a thorough introduction to the area’s history, physiography, and avifauna. Then, in generous discussions of bird families and species, they synthesize years of records, tracking the comings and goings of more than 480 birds and incorporating their own lifetimes of experience to create an “ornithological mosaic” of lasting significance.

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Birds and Animals of Australia's Top End

Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, and Kununurra

Nick Leseberg

One of the most amazing and accessible wildlife-watching destinations on earth, the “Top End” of Australia’s Northern Territory is home to incredible birds and animals—from gaudy Red-collared Lorikeets to sinister Estuarine Crocodiles and raucous Black Flying-foxes. With this lavishly illustrated photographic field guide, you will be able to identify the most common creatures and learn about their fascinating biology—from how Agile Wallaby mothers can pause their pregnancies to why Giant Frogs spend half the year buried underground in waterproof cocoons.

The Top End stretches from the tropical city of Darwin in the north, to the savannas of Mataranka in the south, and southwest across the vast Victoria River escarpments to the Western Australian border. The region includes some of Australia’s most popular and impressive tourist destinations, such as Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk, and Gregory national parks, and is visited by more than two hundred thousand tourists every year.

An essential field guide for anyone visiting the Top End, this book will vastly enhance your appreciation of the region’s remarkable wildlife.

  • Features hundreds of stunning color photographs
  • Includes concise information on identification and preferred habitat for each species
  • Provides a summary of each species’ life history, including interesting habits, and suggestions on where to see it
  • Offers valuable tips on searching for wildlife in the Top End
  • An essential guide for visitors to the Top End, from Darwin south to Katherine and Kununurra, including Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Gregory national parks

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Black Faces, White Spaces

Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors

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Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain

Nature, Culture, and Sustainability

Edited by Evan Peacock and Timothy Schauwecker

This comprehensive study of one of the most ecologically rich regions of the Southeast underscores the relevance of archaeological research in understanding long-term cultural change.

Taking a holistic approach, this compilation gathers ecological, historical, and archaeological research written on the distinctive region of the Southeast called the Gulf coast blackland prairie. Ranging from the last glacial period to the present day, the case studies provide a broad picture of how the area has changed through time and been modified by humans, first with nomadic bands of Indians trailing the grazing animals and then by Euro-American settlers who farmed the rich agricultural area. Contemporary impacts include industrialization, aquaculture, population growth, land reclamation, and wildlife management.

It is believed that the Black Belt and the Great Plains were contiguous in the past and shared the same prairie vegetation, insects, and large fauna, such as bison. Swaths and patches of limestone-based soils still weave a biological corridor through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In analyzing this distinct grassland ecosystem, the essays compare both the mega and minute flora and fauna sustained by the land in the past and present; reveal what foods were harvested by early inhabitants, their gathering techniques, and diet changes over the 10,000-year period of native occupancy; survey the documents of early explorers for descriptions of the landform, its use, and the lives of inhabitants at the time of contact; and look at contemporary efforts to halt abuse and reverse damage to this unique and shrinking biome.

This book demonstrates that the blackland prairie has always been an important refuge for a teeming array of biological species, including humans. It will have wide scholarly appeal as well as general interest and will be welcomed by archaeologists, biologists, botanists, ecologists, historians, librarians, politicians, land managers, and national, state, and local administrators.

Evan Peacock is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mississippi State University and a contributor to The Woodland Southeast. Timothy Schauwecker is a biologist with Mississippi State University.

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The Blue and the Green

A Cultural Ecological History of an Arizona Ranching Community

In The Blue and the Green, anthropologist Jack Stauder analyzes how large-scale political, social, and environmental processes have transformed ranching and rural life in the West. Focusing on the community of Blue, Arizona, Stauder details how the problems of overgrazing, erosion, and environmental stresses on the open range in the early twentieth century coincided with a push by the newly created US Forest Service to develop fenced grazing allotments on federal lands. Later in the twentieth century, with the enactment of the Endangered Species Act and other laws, the growing power of urban-based environmental groups resulted in the reduction of federal grazing leases throughout the West.

The author combines historical research with oral interviews to explore the impact of these transformations on the ranchers residing in the Blue River Valley of eastern Arizona. Stauder gives voice to these ranchers, along with Forest Service personnel, environmental activists, scientists, and others involved with issues on “the Blue,” shedding light on how the ranchers’ rural way of life has changed dramatically over the course of the past century. This is a fascinating case study of the effects of increasing government regulations and the influence of outsiders on ranching communities in the American West.

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Bones for Barnum Brown

Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter

James O. Farlow

Roland Thaxter Bird, universally and affectionately known to friends and associates as R. T., achieved a kind of Horatio Alger success in the scientific world of dinosaur studies. Forced to drop out of school at a young age by ill health, he was a cowboy who traveled from job to job by motorcycle until he met Barnum Brown, Curator of Vertebrae Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a leader in the study of dinosaurs. Beginning in 1934, Bird spent many years as an employee of the museum and as Brown's right-hand man in the field. His chart of the Howe Quarry in Wyoming, a massive sauropod boneyard, is one of the most complex paleontological charts ever produced and a work of art in its own right. His crowning achievement was the discovery, collection, and interpretation of gigantic Cretaceous dinosaur trackways along the Paluxy River near Glen Rose and at Bandera, Texas. A trackway from Glen Rose is on exhibit at the American Museum and at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. His interpretation of these trackways demonstrated that a large carnosaur had pursued and attacked a sauropod, that sauropods migrated in herds, and that, contrary to then-current belief, sauropods were able to support their own weight out of deep water. These behavioral interpretations anticipated later dinosaur studies by at least two decades.

From his first meeting with Barnum Brown to his discoveries at Glen Rose and Bandera, this very human account tells the story of Bird's remarkable work on dinosaurs. In a vibrantly descriptive style, Bird recorded both the intensity and excitement of field work and the careful and painstaking detail of laboratory reconstruction. His memoir presents a vivid picture of camp life with Brown and the inner workings of the famous American Museum of Natural History, and it offers a new and humanizing account of Brown himself, one of the giants of his field.

Bird's memoir has been supplemented with a clear and concise introduction to the field of dinosaur study and with generous illustrations which delineate the various types of dinosaurs.

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The Book of Music and Nature

An Anthology of Sounds, Words, Thoughts

David Rothenberg

This innovative book and online CD, assembled by the editors of the renowned periodical Terra Nova, is the first anthology published on the subject of music and nature. Lush and evocative, yoking together the simplicities and complexities of the world of natural sound and the music inspired by it, this collection includes essays, illustrations, and plenty of sounds and music. The Book of Music and Nature celebrates our relationship with natural soundscapes while posing stimulating questions about that very relationship. The book ranges widely, with the interplay of the texts and sounds creating a conversation that readers from all walks of life will find provocative and accessible.

The anthology includes classic texts on music and nature by 20th century masters including John Cage, Hazrat Inrayat Khan, Pierre Schaeffer, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Toru Takemitsu. Innovative essays by Brian Eno, Pauline Oliveros, David Toop, Hildegard Westerkamp and Evan Eisenberg also appear. Interspersed throughout are short fictional excerpts by authors Rafi Zabor, Alejo Carpentier, and Junichiro Tanazaki.

The virtual CD at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/musicandnaturecd/ includes fifteen tracks of music made out of, or reflective of, natural sounds, ranging from Babenzele Pygmy music to Australian butcherbirds, and from Pauline Oliveros to Brian Eno.

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Booming from the Mists of Nowhere

The Story of the Greater Prairie-Chicken

Greg Hoch

For ten months of the year, the prairie-chicken’s drab colors allow it to disappear into the landscape. However, in April and May this grouse is one of the most outrageously flamboyant birds in North America. Competing with each other for the attention of females, males gather before dawn in an explosion of sights and sounds—“booming from the mists of nowhere,” as Aldo Leopold wrote decades ago. There’s nothing else like it, and it is perilously close to being lost. In this book, ecologist Greg Hoch shows that we can ensure that this iconic bird flourishes once again.

Skillfully interweaving lyrical accounts from early settlers, hunters, and pioneer naturalists with recent scientific research on the grouse and its favored grasslands, Hoch reveals that the prairie-chicken played a key role in the American settlement of the Midwest. Many hungry pioneers regularly shot and ate the bird, as well as trapping hundreds of thousands, shipping them eastward by the trainload for coastal suppers. As a result of both hunting and habitat loss, the bird’s numbers plummeted to extinction across 90 percent of its original habitat. Iowa, whose tallgrass prairies formed the very center of the greater prairie-chicken’s range, no longer supports a native population of the bird most symbolic of prairie habitat.

The steep decline in the prairie-chicken population is one of the great tragedies of twentieth-century wildlife management and agricultural practices. However, Hoch gives us reason for optimism. These birds can thrive in agriculturally productive grasslands. Careful grazing, reduced use of pesticides, well-placed wildlife corridors, planned burning, higher plant, animal, and insect diversity: these are the keys. If enough blocks of healthy grasslands are scattered over the midwestern landscape, there will be prairie-chickens—and many of their fellow creatures of the tall grasses. Farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and citizens can reverse the decline of grassland birds and insure that future generations will hear the booming of the prairie-chicken.

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Bootstrap Geologist

My Life in Science

E. A. Shinn

In Bootstrap Geologist Shinn enthusiastically shares the highs and lows of his remarkable life. Taking readers around the globe as well as below the ocean, he recounts the painstaking process of data gathering that can lead to paradigm-breaking discoveries. He emphasizes the importance of field science and pointedly addresses the use and abuse of scientific research and the emergence of market-funded research.

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Breaking Through

Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts

Edward F. Ricketts

Trailblazing marine biologist, visionary conservationist, deep ecology philosopher, Edward F. Ricketts (1897–1948) has reached legendary status in the California mythos. A true polymath and a thinker ahead of his time, Ricketts was a scientist who worked in passionate collaboration with many of his friends—artists, writers, and influential intellectual figures—including, perhaps most famously, John Steinbeck, who once said that Ricketts's mind "had no horizons." This unprecedented collection, featuring previously unpublished pieces as well as others available for the first time in their original form, reflects the wide scope of Ricketts’s scientific, philosophical, and literary interests during the years he lived and worked on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. These writings, which together illuminate the evolution of Ricketts’s unique, holistic approach to science, include "Verbatim transcription of notes on the Gulf of California trip," the basic manuscript for Steinbeck’s and Ricketts’s Log from the Sea of Cortez; the essays "The Philosophy of Breaking Through" and "A Spiritual Morphology of Poetry;" several shorter pieces on topics including collecting invertebrates and the impact of modernization on Mexican village life; and more. An engaging critical biography and a number of rare photographs offer a new and richly detailed view of Ricketts’s life.

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