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Bats of Texas Cover

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Bats of Texas

Loren K. Ammerman, Christine L. Hice, and David J. Schmidly; Illustrations by Carson Brown; Photographs by J. Scott Altenbach

With all new illustrations, color photographs, revised species accounts, updated maps, and a sturdy flexible binding, this new edition of the authoritative guide to bats in Texas will serve as the field guide and all-around reference of choice for amateur naturalists as well as mammalogists, wildlife biologists, and professional conservationists. Texas is home to all four families of bats that occur in the United States, including thirty-three species of these important yet increasingly threatened mammals. Although five species, each represented by a single specimen, may be regarded as vagrants, no other state has a bat fauna more diverse, from the state’s most common species, the Brazilian free-tailed bat, to the rare hairy-legged vampire. The introductory chapter of this new edition of Bats of Texas surveys bats in general—their appearance, distribution, classification, evolution, biology, and life history—and discusses public health and bat conservation. An updated account for each species follows, with pictures by an outstanding nature photographer, distribution maps, and a thorough bibliography. Bats of Texas also features revised and illustrated dichotomous keys accompanied by gracefully detailed line drawings to aid in identification. A list of specimens examined is located at batsoftexas.com.

Bats of the United States and Canada Cover

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Bats of the United States and Canada

Michael J. Harvey, J. Scott Altenbach, and Troy L. Best

Bats of the United States and Canada is the only complete and accessible guide to all forty-seven species of bats found in the region. Bats are among the world’s most fascinating creatures. The only mammals capable of true flight, these animals are marvels of evolution. A wide variety of species lives in the United States and Canada, ranging from the California leaf-nosed bat to the Florida bonneted bat, from the eastern small-footed bat to the northern long-eared Bat. Fact-filled and easy to use, this guide includes accurate range maps, detailed biological information, and useful identification tips. J. Scott Altenbach's stunning photographs accompany each species account, capturing the amazing diversity of these winged mammals. This guide also includes helpful information on the natural history of bats from across the globe. Bats today face ever-increasing danger from destruction of habitat, new technologies such as wind turbines, chemical toxicants, and devastating diseases like white-nose syndrome, which is killing millions of cave bats in the United States and Canada. The authors discuss these threats and others as well as the latest conservation efforts to protect bats around the world. Written by three of the world’s leading bat experts, this volume is the most comprehensive guide to the bat species of the United States and Canada available.

The Battle for the Buffalo River Cover

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The Battle for the Buffalo River

The Story of America’s First National River

Neil Compton

Under the auspices of the 1938 Flood Control Act, the U.S. Corps of Engineers began to pursue an aggressive dam-building campaign. A grateful public generally lauded their efforts, but when they turned their attention to Arkansas’s Buffalo River, the vocal opposition their proposed projects generated dumbfounded them. Never before had anyone challenged the Corps’s assumption that damming a river was an improvement. Led by Neil Compton, a physician in Bentonville, Arkansas, a group of area conservationists formed the Ozark Society to join the battle for the Buffalo. This book is the account of this decade-long struggle that drew in such political figures as supreme court justice William O. Douglas, Senator J. William Fulbright, and Governor Orval Faubus. The battle finally ended in 1972 with President Richard Nixon’s designation of the Buffalo as the first national river. Drawing on hundreds of personal letters, photographs, maps, newspaper articles, and reminiscences, Compton’s lively book details the trials, gains, setbacks, and ultimate triumph in one of the first major skirmishes between environmentalists and developers.

Bayesian Field Theory Cover

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Bayesian Field Theory

Jörg C. Lemm

Ask a traditional mathematician the likely outcome of a coin-toss, and he will reply that no evidence exists on which to base such a prediction. Ask a Bayesian, and he will examine the coin, conclude that it was probably not tampered with, and predict five hundred heads in a thousand tosses; a subsequent experiment would then be used to refine this prediction. The Bayesian approach, in other words, permits the use of prior knowledge when testing a hypothesis. Long the province of mathematicians and statisticians, Bayesian methods are applied in this ground-breaking book to problems in cutting-edge physics. Joerg Lemm offers practical examples of Bayesian analysis for the physicist working in such areas as neural networks, artificial intelligence, and inverse problems in quantum theory. The book also includes nonparametric density estimation problems, including, as special cases, nonparametric regression and pattern recognition. Thought-provoking and sure to be controversial, Bayesian Field Theory will be of interest to physicists as well as to other specialists in the rapidly growing number of fields that make use of Bayesian methods.

Bayou-Diversity Cover

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Bayou-Diversity

Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country

Kelby Ouchley

Louisiana’s bayous and their watersheds teem with cypress trees, alligators, crawfish, and many other life forms. From Bayou Tigre to Half Moon Bayou, these sluggish streams meander through lowlands, marshes, and even uplands to dominate the state’s landscape. In Bayou-Diversity, conservationist Kelby Ouchley reveals the bayou’s intricate web of flora and fauna. Through a collection of essays about Louisiana’s natural history, Ouchley details an amazing array of plants and animals found in the Bayou State. Baldcypress, orchids, feral hogs, eels, black bears, bald eagles, and cottonmouth snakes live in the well over a hundred bayous of the region. Collectively, Ouchley’s vignettes portray vibrant and complex habitats. But human interaction with the bayou and our role in its survival, Ouchley argues, will determine the future of these intricate ecosystems. Bayou-Diversity narrates the story of the bayou one flower, one creature at a time, in turn illustrating the bigger picture of this treasured and troubled Louisiana landscape.

Beaches of the Gulf Coast Cover

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Beaches of the Gulf Coast

Richard A. Davis

Much of the world’s population lives within thirty miles of a coast, and beaches are perhaps the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. The Gulf of Mexico is no exception: Millions of people make their homes nearby, and many of them spend considerable time at the beach, joined by millions more tourists and seasonal visitors.

In Beaches of the Gulf Coast, Richard A. Davis Jr., a veteran coastal geologist, explores the dynamics of beach formation, providing the reader with a basic understanding of the characteristics and behavior of the beach environment and what causes it to change. He compares natural beach environments with those that have experienced human intervention, and he profiles many of the common plants and animals that grow and live on and adjacent to the beach.

Following the coastline from the Florida Keys around the Gulf Coast to Varadero Beach in Cuba, Davis describes the major characteristics of beaches in each US state, with a final chapter on Mexico and Cuba. Focusing on public beaches, Davis emphasizes the special features of the beaches, indicating whether and how they are nourished—either naturally or artificially—and pointing out which beaches have problems and which ones are doing well.

Including photographs, satellite images, charts, and maps that reveal the natural processes of beach formation and erosion, Davis showcases the beauty of some of the Gulf’s “best” beaches, both popular and remote. Beaches of the Gulf Coast provides a broad range of basic knowledge for all who own beachfront property, who live near the beach, or who simply love the beach and want a better understanding of this special coastal environment.

Bear River Cover

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Bear River

Last Chance to Change Course

Craig Denton

Craig Denton notes, “Water will be the primary political, social, and economic issue in the Intermountain West in the twenty-first century.” Urban Utah thirsts for the Great Salt Lake  principal source, the Bear River. Plans abound to divert it for a rapidly growing Wasatch Front, as the last good option for future water. But is it? Who now uses the river and how? Who are its stakeholders? What does the Bear mean to them? What is left for further use? How do we measure the Bear's own interest, give it a voice in decisions?

Craig Denton's documentary takes on these questions. He tells the story of the river and the people, of many sorts, with diverse purposes, who live and depend on it. Bear River begins in alpine snowfields, lakes, and creeks in the Uinta Mountains, flows north through Wyoming, loops south in Idaho, and enters the inland sea by way of the an environmentally critical bird refuge. Along the way it has many uses: habitat, farms, electricity, recreation, lawns and homes. Denton researches the natural and human history of the river, photographed it, interviewed many stakeholders, and tried to capture the river  perspective. His photographs, printed as crisp duotones, carry us downstream, ultimately to big questions, begging to be answered soon, about what we should and can make of the Bear River. Denton writes,

Gravity my engine,
Water my soul.
I am the teller of life and deep time.

You would measure me.
Sever me.
Own me.
In your name.

Let me flow
In your imagination
That I may speak.

Beastly Natures Cover

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Beastly Natures

Animals, Humans, and the Study of History

This volume of interdisciplinary essays on animals and cultural history boasts a stellar list of international contributors. It will be a valuable text for university courses in the fast-growing field of animal studies.

Beautiful Chaos Cover

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Beautiful Chaos

Chaos Theory and Metachaotics in Recent American Fiction

Explores the way chaos theory is incorporated in the work of such writers as Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Don DeLillo, and Michael Crichton. Beautiful Chaos is the first book to examine contemporary American fiction through the lens of chaos theory. The book focuses on recent works of fiction by John Barth, Michael Crichton, Don DeLillo, Michael Dorris, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Carol Shields, and Robert Stone, all of whom incorporate aspects of chaos theory in one or more of their novels. They accomplish this through their disruption of conventional linear narrative forms and their use of strategic tropes of chaos and order, but also—and more significantly for an understanding of the interaction of science and fiction—through their self-conscious embrace of the current rhetoric of chaos theory. Since the publication of James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science in 1987, chaos theory has been taken up by a wide variety of literary critics and other scholars of the arts. While considering the relationship between chaos theory and recent American fiction, Beautiful Chaos details basic assumptions about orderly and dynamic systems and the various manifestations of chaos theory in literature, including mimesis, metaphor, model, and metachaotics. It also explains particular features of orderly and dynamic systems, including entropy, bifurcation and turbulence, noise and information, scaling and fractals, iteration, and strange attractors.

Becoming Immortal Cover

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Becoming Immortal

Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy

Providing the philosophical, practical, and theoretical leverage for abandoning evolution and development in favor of engineering human beings, Becoming Immortal examines the directions biological change might take if civilization were to take charge of its own destiny. With the aid of embryonic manipulation, cloning, and stem-cell therapy, immortality would seem within the reach of future generations. The question is, “Do we presently have the wisdom to undertake creating immortal organisms?” The author examines every facet of this question, from theory to practice, and provides an answer through an in-depth analysis of life and death.

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