Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Titles

1) Bell, Michael A. et al. (editors). Evolution Since Darwin: The First 150 Years. 2010. Sinauer. Paperback: 688 pages. Price: $69.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Evolution since Darwin: The First 150 Years comprises 22 chapters and eight shorter commentaries that emerged from a symposium held in November 2009 at Stony Brook University. Thirty-nine authors from 22 universities and two museums in five countries wrote on areas of evolutionary biology and related topics on which their research focuses. Their essays cover the history of evolutionary biology, populations, genes and genomes, evolution of form, adaptation and speciation, diversification and phylogeny, paleobiology, human cultural and biological evolution, and applied evolution. The volume is intended to summarize progress in major areas of research in evolutionary biology since Darwin, to review the current state of knowledge and active research in those areas, and to look toward the future of the broader field.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in evolution.

2) van der Geer, Alexandra et al.. Evolution of Island Mammals: Adaptation and Extinction of Placental Mammals on Islands. 2010. Wiley-Blackwell. Hardbound: 479 pages. Price: $99.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Evolution on islands differs in a number of important ways from evolution on mainland areas. Over millions of years of isolation, exceptional and sometimes bizarre mammals evolved on islands, such as pig-sized elephants and hippos, giant rats and gorilla-sized lemurs that would have been formidable to their mainland ancestors.
     This timely and innovative book is the first to offer a much-needed synthesis of recent advances in the exciting field of the evolution and extinction of fossil insular placental mammals. It provides a comprehensive overview of current knowledge on fossil island mammals worldwide, ranging from the Oligocene to the onset of the Holocene.
     The book addresses evolutionary processes and key aspects of insular mammal biology, exemplified by a variety of fossil species. The authors discuss the human factor in past extinction events and loss of insular biodiversity.
     This accessible and richly illustrated textbook is written for graduate level students and professional researchers in evolutionary biology, palaeontology, biogeography, zoology, and ecology.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in mammalian evolution.

New Title

1) Gee, Carole T.(editor). Plants In Mesozoic Time: Morphological Innovations, Phylogeny, Ecosystems. 2010. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 373 pages. Price: $89.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Plants in Mesozoic Time showcases the latest research of broad botanical and paleontological interest from the world’s experts on Mesozoic plant life. Each chapter covers a special aspect of a particular plant group—ranging from horsetails to ginkgophytes, from cycads to conifers—and relates it to key innovations in structure, phylogenetic relationships, the Mesozoic flora, or to animals such as plant-eating dinosaurs. The book’s geographic scope ranges from Antarctica and Argentina to the western interior of North America, with studies on the reconstruction of the Late Jurassic vegetation of the Morrison Formation and on fossil angiosperm lianas from Late Cretaceous deposits in Utah and New Mexico. The volume also includes cutting-edge studies on the evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo") of Mesozoic forests, the phylogenetic analysis of the still enigmatic bennettitaleans, and the genetic developmental controls of the oldest flowers in the fossil record.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in Mesozoic flora.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New and Recent Titles

1) Balliett, Blue.The Danger Box. 2010. Scholastic Press. Hardbound: 306 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: A sight-impaired boy in a small town. A mischievous girl who won't stay in one place. A mysterious lost notebook possibly belonging to Charles Darwin. A fire. A stranger. A death. These are the contents of The Danger Box, Blue Balliett's brand new novel where history, mystery, and science all collide.
RECOMMENDATION: For ages 9-12. The Darwin-related plot is interesting and something you don't see in many children's books!

                               2) Abbott, R. Tucker and Percy A. Morris. A Field Guide to Shells: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies. 1995. Houghton Mifflin. Paperback: 350 pages. Price: $19.00 U.S.
SUMMARY:  All the information needed to collect and study shells is included in this comprehensive book, which provides the geographical range and habitat for and a detailed description of each of 800 species. Color plates show 780 species, including live animals, and 115 drawings show both animals and their shells.

RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in the seashells of eastern North America.

New and Recent Titles

1) Anderson, Bertin W. Evolution and Taxonomy of White-cheeked Geese. 2010. Avvar Books. Paperback: 495 pages. Price: $25.00 U.S.( plus $5.00 shipping and handling).
SUMMARY: This book follows up on two books by the late Harold C. Hanson on the taxonomy and evolution of "white-cheeked geese". In this book the author recognizes 15 species vs. 6 in the Hanson volumes and 2 in the A.O.U. Checklist.
RECOMMENDATION: Most of the book is for those with a technical interest in the taxonomy of the "white-cheeked geese." Birders might find chapter 16: guide to identification with its 24 color photo plates useful. This book is available from this link: http://www.avvar.com/evoltaxwcg.php

2) Ferguson-Lees, James and David A. Christie. Raptors of the World. 2006. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 320 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Based on essential sections of the widely acclaimed handbook Raptors of the World by the same authors, but with updated text, maps, and plates, it shows every species in a selection of different plumages, with concise facing texts and distribution maps.
      It provides an easy-to-use and portable reference to one of the world's largest, most popular, and most challenging avian groups.

-A unique identification guide to all the world's raptors
-118 color plates show 338 species in flight and perched
-Facing text summarizes size, confusion species, habitat, and behavioral and plumage differences
-Color distribution maps included for every species
-Ideal for use in the field, anywhere in the world

RECOMMENDATION: Birders will find this book useful and easier to carry into the field than the original large volume from 2001!

3) Shirihai, Hadoram and Brett Jarrett. Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World. 2006. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 384 pages. Price: 24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This breathtakingly beautiful book brings readers nose-to-nose with all of the world's marine mammals-a comprehensive line-up of remarkable whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, walruses, otters, polar bears, dugongs, and manatees.
      A highly practical field guide, it combines state-of-the-art illustrations with superb color photographs and detailed maps. The book highlights key field marks and clearly summarizes the types of behaviors that marine-mammal watchers may observe.
     Where other guides settle for static or wooden images and descriptions, this one comes to life with the kind of detailed text and stunning photos that make for a go-to reference guide. Armed with this book, any observer anywhere in the world should be able to identify the marine mammals they encounter.

-A go-to field guide to all of the world's marine mammals
-Contains key field marks and summaries of behavior
-Over 450 stunning color photos
-124 color maps
-Over 500 beautiful new illustrations
-An exquisite blend of text, illustrations, and photos, harmonized for practical field usage
-Suitable for both amateurs and seasoned professionals

RECOMMENDATION: Probably the best guide to marine mammals currently available!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Princeton University Press giveaway

The details are below:

     "This week's book giveaway is not one book, but two: Birds of Western North America: A Photographic Guide and Birds of Eastern North America: A Photographic Guide.                   Owls, hawks, gulls, herons, woodpeckers, jays,
sparrows, you name it. All our Facebook/Twitter followers are
automatically entered to win. The drawing is this Friday. So, tell your friends.
     Here's more about the books: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8996.html
     In order to enter the drawing, all you have to do is "like" Princeton University Press on Facebook or become a fan on Twitter. Hope you will spread the good news for this give-away."
     Facebook page:
     Twitter page: http://twitter.com/PrincetonUPress

Ivory-billed Woodpecker items

There are two Ivory-billed Woodpecker items that might be of interest:

Ghost Bird, a documentary about the ill-fated "rediscovery" in Arkansas in 2004 of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is making its way around North America. You can learn more at its website here:


 A review of the movie by Jerome Jackson can be found here:


The September issue of Smithsonian magazine features photos of a nestling Ivory-billed Woodpecker taken by James Tanner. You can view the article here:


Friday, August 20, 2010

Black Swift monograph on-line

 The Black Swift monograph by the late Rich Levad titled: The Coolest Bird is now available on-line through the American Birding Association's website here: http://www.aba.org/thecoolestbird.pdf

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New and Recent Titles

1) Hickey, Leo J.. The Forest Primeval: The Geologic History of Wood and Petrified Forests. 2003 (2010). Yale University Press. Paperback: 62 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Wood—perhaps no natural material has been used longer by man, and none seems more suited to human tastes and needs. Its properties are the result of a long evolutionary history as an integral part of the earth's forests. This story describes what it is, explores how it is put together, and recounts the story of wood from its origin, giving us new insights into this familiar material all around us, as well as into the petrified wood that occurs so abundantly in the fossil record.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction on the subject.

2) Hulbert, Richard C., Jr. (editor). The Fossil Vertebrates of Florida. 2001. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 350 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings, this authoritative yet readable book describes the fossil vertebrates found in Florida—many unique to the state--and summarizes more than 100 years of paleontological discoveries and research. It bridges the sometimes disconnected worlds of the professional paleontologist and the avocational collector and hobbyist.
     Florida has the richest vertebrate fossil record of any state east of the Mississippi, extending back 45 million years. Beginning with an introduction to vertebrate anatomy, Richard Hulbert describes the geological history of the state and the history of vertebrate life in it. He then addresses such questions as what animals lived in Florida, how they are related to one another and to living animals, when they first appeared and when many of them became extinct, what they ate, and what they tell us about past environments.
     All types of vertebrates are covered, including sharks and other fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. In addition to exceptionally detailed illustrations (many published for the first time), the book includes a comprehensive list of every verified fossil species ever collected in Florida.
RECOMMENDATION: A very good reference on vertebrate fossils of Florida.

3) Marks, Cynthia S. and George E. Marks. Bats of Florida. 2006. University Press of Florida. Paperback: 176 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Florida is home to 20 of the more than 1,000 bat species worldwide. Cynthia and George Marks have created an informative guide that captures both the mystique--and the true nature--of the feared and revered bat. They carefully describe each of Florida's bat species, including its foraging methods, range, roosting habitat, reproductive behaviors, and echolocation--the process by which bats use sonar to navigate and capture insects in the night sky. This first book dedicated solely to bats in Florida features color photographs of each species, along with numerous black-and-white photographs, drawings, tables, charts, range maps, and an illustrated key for identifying Florida species.
     Cynthia and George Marks have more than 15 years' experience working with the state's flying mammals and have cared for and rehabilitated hundreds of injured and orphaned bats. Founders of the Florida Bat Conservancy in 1994, they also help building owners safely remove bat colonies from their premises. Their book offers an objective view of bats and human health, dispelling misunderstandings and separating realistic concerns from exaggerated fears. Bats of Florida also reveals the intriguing stories behind the unoccupied bat tower at Sugarloaf Key and the successfully occupied University of Florida bat house, the largest sanctuary of its kind in North America. Describing how, when, and where to watch for bats, the authors also advise how to conduct bat walks.
     For anyone curious about these fascinating creatures of the night, Bats of Florida provides a thorough, authoritative, well-illustrated guide to their life and lore.
RECOMMENDATION: Anyone interested in the bats of North America will want this book!

4) Sinibaldi, Robert W.. What Your Fossils Can Tell You: Vertebrate Morphology, Pathology, and Cultural Modification. 2010. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 369 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Written primarily for the avid amateur and beginning paleontologist, What Your Fossils Can Tell You offers both experienced and novice fossil hunters and collectors the information needed to correctly identify and interpret the significance of their discoveries.
     Professionals in the field may also use this book as a pictorial resource to assist them in bridging the fields of pathology and archaeology as they relate to paleontology. Amateur fossil hunters are presented with the tools they need to recognize significant finds and knowledge of how to collect vertebrate fossils responsibly and legally.
     Robert Sinibaldi, in informal collaboration with a number of fossil experts, has compiled materials with a wide appeal. He explains many of the complex bumps, grooves, markings, and other anomalies that occur on fossil bones and teeth. A wealth of photographs helps readers visually identify these features and apply related concepts to their personal collections. Along with many common specimens, scores of unique fossil items appear here in print for the first time.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the topic.

5) Volpe, Rosemary. The Age of Reptiles: The Art and Science of Rudolph Zallinger's Great Dinosaur Mural at Yale (2nd edition). 2010. Yale Peabody Museum. Spiralbound: 76 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Rudolph Zallinger’s 110-foot (33.5-meter) fresca secco painting of The Age of Reptiles is one of the largest natural history murals in the world. Completed in 1947, it is an overview of prehistoric life told through the principal features and concepts of The Age of Reptiles. The mural has defined our view of the prehistoric world, and continues to teach, inform and spark the imagination of thousands of visitors that walk through the Yale Peabody Museum’s Great Hall each year, as well as to admirers around the world over through countless reproductions in publications and textbooks.
     This second edition of the Peabody’s guide to Zallinger’s masterwork is a compilation of earlier material and new information—including Vincent Scully’s classic essay on the mural’s place in the history of art—contributed by the staff and scientists of the Yale Peabody Museum. Filled with full color illustrations throughout, the concealed spiral paperback includes updated descriptions and identifying illustrations of the animals and plants depicted in the mural keyed to a 12 page foldout full-color poster that is bound into the book.
      Rudolph Zallinger (1919–1995) was an American-based artist notable for his mural The Age of Reptiles (1947) at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History and for the popular illustration known as March of Progress (1965), one of the world's most recognizable scientific images.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in paleontological art.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


     1) Guppy, Crispin S. and Jon H. Shepard. Butterflies of British Columbia. 2001. UBC Press. Hardbound: 414 pages. Price: $138.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Butterflies are found everywhere in British Columbia, from balcony planter boxes in the city to the vast, unexplored expanses of boreal forest and mountains across the north, and from coastal bogs and wild ocean shorelines to the deserts of the southern interior. The total known fauna of 187 species of butterflies in B.C. is by far the largest and most diverse in Canada.
      Butterflies of British Columbia summarizes all available information on the butterflies of B.C. The 187 species and 264 subspecies of butterflies known from B.C., as well as 9 additional hypothetical species, are discussed with descriptions of identifying features, immature stages, larval foodplants, biology and life history, range and habitat, and conservation status. In addition, descriptions are provided for 11 new subspecies. Each species treatment also contains maps of the northwestern North American distribution, colour photographs of adults of all species and subspecies, and flight season graphs.
     The book includes an extensive general introduction to the study of butterflies, containing chapters on the history of butterfly study in B.C., the post-glacial colonization of B.C. by butterflies, the effects of European colonization on the fauna, butterfly conservation, butterfly gardening, ecology, morphology, and biology.
      Butterflies of British Columbia provides butterfly watchers, naturalists, and biologists with an overview of the fascinating butterfly fauna of B.C. and adjacent areas. It can be used by naturalists to identify all the butterfly species and subspecies in B.C. and adjacent areas and includes a wide range of information about both butterflies in general and individual species. There is also much original information in the book that scientists will find invaluable, especially the description of 11 new subspecies and a complete reassessment of the taxonomy of the species.
RECOMMENDATION: A very useful butterfly monograph. The species accounts are well organized and well illustrated.

     2) Sinclair, Pamela H., et al. (editors). Birds of the Yukon Territory. 2003. UBC Press. Hardbound: 595 pages. Price: $165.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Yukon is a land of remarkable wilderness, diverse ecosystems, and profound beauty. It is also home to a unique assemblage of birds. As of 2002, 288 bird species have been documented in the Yukon, with 223 occurring regularly. They occupy an amazing range of habitats, from the most barren mountain peaks to lush valley bottom forests, and are an integral part of the cultural heritage of Yukon First Nations people. The vast areas of natural habitat with limited road access can make the study of birds challenging, but are key in defining the nature of birding in the Yukon.
     Birds of the Yukon Territory is the result of a decade-long project initiated to gather and share what is known about the Yukon’s birdlife. Lavishly illustrated with 600 colour photographs and 223 hand-drawn bird illustrations, the book presents a wealth of information on bird distribution, migration and breeding chronology, nesting behaviour, and habitat use, and on conservation concerns. Two hundred and eighty-eight species of birds are documented, including 223 regular species, and 65 casual and accidental species. In compiling this meticulously researched volume, the authors consulted over 166,000 records in a database created by the Canadian Wildlife Service, with information dating back to 1861.
     Sections on birds in Aboriginal culture and history, and bird names in the Yukon First Nations and Inuvialuit languages, enhance the book, as do the numerous easily interpreted charts and graphs. Destined to become a basic reference work on the avifauna of the North, Birds of the Yukon Territory is a must-have for bird enthusiasts and anyone interested in the natural history of the Yukon and the North.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for ornithologists and birders in that part of North America!

3-4) Sandilands, Al. Birds of Ontario: Habitat Requirements, Limiting Factors and Status; Nonpasserines (2 volumes). Hardbound and Paperback: 365 pages (volume 1) and 387 pages (volume 2). Prices: Hardbound: $95.00 U.S., Paperback: $43.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: The volumes in the Birds of Ontario series summarize life history requirements of bird species that are normally part of the ecology of Ontario. These two volumes of the series complete the treatment of the nonpasserine bird species occurring in Ontario on a regular basis. Information on habitat, limiting factors, and status are summarized for 167 species in these volumes. These topics are covered for the three primary avian seasons: breeding, migration, and winter. Habitat, nest sites, territoriality, site fidelity, annual reproductive effort, habitat loss and degradation, environmental contaminants, and a variety of other topics are covered in the species accounts. Maps depicting breeding and wintering range are presented for most species along with drawings by Ross James.
     Birds of Ontario is an essential reference source for wildlife biologists, environmental consultants, and planners preparing or reviewing environmental impact statements and environmental assessments. Serious birders will find the volumes of interest as well. Although the books focus on Ontario birds, the information is highly relevant to adjacent provinces and states.
RECOMMENDATION: These are very useful volumes for the region. Two more volumes covering the passerines are forthcoming.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Title

     Cox, C. Barry and Peter D. Moore. Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach (Eighth edition). 2010. John Wiley. Paperback: 498 pages. Price: $100.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Through seven successful editions, and over nearly 40 years, Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach has provided a thorough and comprehensive exploration of the varied scientific disciplines and research that are essential to understanding the subject. The text has been praised for its solid background in historical biogeography and basic biology, that is enhanced and illuminated by discussions of current research.
     This new edition incorporates the exciting changes of the recent years, and presents a thoughtful exploration of the research and controversies that have transformed our understanding of the biogeography of the world.
     It also clearly identifies the three quite different arenas of biogeographical research: continental biogeography, island biogeography and marine biogeography. It is the only current textbook with full coverage of marine biogeography.
     It reveals how the patterns of life that we see today have been created by the two great Engines of the Planet - the Geological Engine, plate tectonics, which alters the conditions of life on the planet, and the Biological Engine, evolution, which responds to these changes by creating new forms and patterns of life.
RECOMMENDATION: A useful undergraduate level textbook.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Title

     Lieberman, Bruce S. and Roger Kaesler. Prehistoric Life: Evolution and the Fossil Record. 2010. Wiley-Blackwell. Paperback: 385 pages. Price: $95.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Prehistoric life is the archive of evolution preserved in the fossil record. This book focuses on the meaning and significance of that archive and is designed for introductory college science students, including non-science majors, enrolled in survey courses emphasizing paleontology, geology and biology.
     From the origins of animals to the evolution of rap music, from ancient mass extinctions to the current biodiversity crisis, and from the Snowball Earth to present day climate change this book covers it, with an eye towards showing how past life on Earth puts the modern world into its proper context. The history of life and the patterns and processes of evolution are especially emphasized, as are the interconnections between our planet, its climate system, and its varied life forms. The book does not just describe the history of life, but uses actual examples from life’s history to illustrate important concepts and theories.
RECOMMENDATION: This would be a good undergraduate level text book.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Title

     McMullan, Miles, Thomas M. Donegan and Alonso Quevedo. Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia. 2010. ProAves. Paperback: 229 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Coinciding with Colombia’s 200th anniversary as a republic, the world’s most bird-rich nation finally has a new field guide. The book is easy to use and constitutes the first pocket field guide for the world’s most diverse avifauna.
     The field guide includes original illustrations of all the country’s 1,879 bird species, including those of the Colombian mainland, coast, oceans and offshore islands. Also, there are up-to-date distribution maps and even undescribed species.
     The last field guide to Colombian birds was published in 1986. Twenty-five years later, there are more than 150 additional species which have been recorded in Colombia, making this field guide a great step forwards for the world’s most important country in terms of bird diversity.
     Plates are arranged to show species names, illustrations, maps, text, field notes and notes on endemics and threat status side by side in a single information cell. Emphasis is placed on features that will be most useful in the field. At 250 pages long and just 12.5 x 21 cm, it is the first genuinely pocket-sized comprehensive field-guide for one of the biggest neotropical avifaunas.
     All profits from this book will support the pioneering conservation work of ProAves in Colombia. Available in North America from Buteo Books: http://www.buteobooks.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BBBAO&Product_Code=13277&Category_Code=
and in Europe from NHBS: http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?tefno=176450
RECOMMENDATION: This guide's handy size will be useful in the field. I still recommend Hilty and Brown's A Guide to the Birds of Colombia for detailed information on the birds of Colombia ( a second edition of this book is in the works).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Title

     Cornejo, Fernando and John Janovec. Seeds of Amazonian Plants. 2010. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 155 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Seeds of Amazonian Plants is the first field guide to treat the extraordinary diversity of seeds and diaspores of plants commonly encountered in the Amazon and other lowland moist forests of the American tropics. This stunningly illustrated guide features an easy-to-use whole-plant approach to seed identification that provides detailed descriptions not only of the seeds but also of the habit, trunk, bark, leaves, infructescence, and fruit of Amazonian plants, as well as information about the known uses and distribution of each genus. Presenting these descriptions together with 750 full-color photos and a unique identification key, this premier field guide enables users to identify seeds of 544 genera and 131 families of plants.
The most comprehensive field guide to Amazonian seeds:

-Features 750 full-color photos that make identification easy
-Covers 544 genera and 131 families of Amazonian plants
-Describes seeds, habit, trunk, bark, leaves, infructescence, and fruit
-Includes unique seed identification key
-Compact, portable, and beautifully illustrated--the ideal field guide

RECOMMENDATION: A useful guide for those interested in Neotropical botany.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New and Recent Titles

1) Pallen, Mark. The Rough Guide to Evolution. 2009. Rough Guides. Paperback: 346 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: Have you ever wondered what Charles Darwin would have had on his iPod? Or exactly how Cartman from South Park fits into the Theory of Evolution?
     The Rough Guide to Evolution delves into all of this and more, from the life and works of the eminent scientist to the impact of evolutionary thinking on modern times. Read about the evolutionary history of life on Earth, the stark evidence for evolution – including feathered dinosaurs – and how Darwin’s breakthrough is still denied by creationists, who have repeatedly tried to ban evolution from the classroom. Providing a complete and authoritative overview of one of the most controversial topics of our age, the guide is an accessible one-stop-shop for all things Darwinian, while listing resources for those keen to dig deeper into our murky beginnings.
     Find out exactly how Charles Darwin and The Origin of the Species have affected human life in the 150 years since its publication – everything from Darwinian tourism to the evolution of The Simpsons – as well as some new angles that make The Rough Guide to Evolution a must-have for die-hard Darwin fans. Rediscover Darwin’s earth-shattering explanation for the diversity of life with The Rough Guide to Evolution.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject of evolution.

2) Perry, Steve F. et al.(editors). Zebrafish: Fish Physiology Volume 29. 2010. Academic Press. Hardbound: 455 pages. Price: $119.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This cutting-edge resource includes up-to-date information on zebrafish physiology and the tools used to study it, not only as a model species for studies of other vertebrates but with application for studies of human disease and aquatic toxicology. The utility of zebrafish for physiological research is based on several key features including i) a ";fully"; sequenced genome, ii) rapid (~3 month) generation times), iii) their capacity to produce large numbers of externally fertilized eggs, iv) optical transparency of embryos and larvae, and v) the applicability of reverse and forward genetics to assess gene function. Gene knockdown in embryos and the production of transgenic strains are now standard techniques being used to assess physiology. This book will be of keen interest not only to the typical readers of Fish Physiology but also to biomedical researchers, toxicologists and developmental biologists.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in fish physiology.

3) Thorp, James H. and Alan P. Covich (editors). Ecology and Classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates (3rd edition). 2010. Academic Press. Hardbound: 1021 pages. Price: $139.95 U.S.

SUMMARY:The 3rd edition of Ecology and Classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates continues the tradition of in-depth coverage of the biology, ecology, phylogeny, and identification of freshwater invertebrates from the USA and Canada. This edition is in color for the first time and includes greatly expanded classification of many phyla and a downloadable set of references for all chapters.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in freshwater invertebrates.


     Garrison, Rosser W. et al.. Damselfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Zygoptera. 2010. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 490 pages. Price: $125.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: In this companion volume to Dragonfly Genera of the New World, Rosser W. Garrison, Natalia von Ellenrieder, and Jerry A. Louton provide a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to the damselflies of North, Central, and South America.
     This illustrated reference contains original, up—to—date keys to the 125 genera of Zygoptera in North, Central, and South America; descriptive text for each genus; distribution maps; and highly detailed diagnostic illustrations. Each account lists all known species and generic synonyms, information on the status of classification, and references to larval descriptions.
     Featuring more than 2,500 illustrations and based on the authors' personal observations, Damselfly Genera of the New World is an indispensable resource for entomologists, limnologists, and naturalists.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with a technical interest in New World Odonata!

Also available:

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Title

     Dawkins, Richard. The Greatest Show on Earth. 2010. Free Press. Paperback: 472 pages. Price: $16.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: Richard Dawkins transformed our view of God in his blockbuster, The God Delusion, which sold more than 2 million copies in English alone. He revolutionized the way we see natural selection in the seminal bestseller The Selfish Gene. Now, he launches a fierce counterattack against proponents of "Intelligent Design" in his latest New York Times bestseller, The Greatest Show on Earth. "Intelligent Design" is being taught in our schools; educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolutionary theory. There is no controversy. Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence—from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics—to make the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection." His unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument, exposing the absurdities of the creationist position, into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master's vision of life, in all its splendor.
RECOMMENDATION: Anyone interested in evolution and/or the works of Dawkins will want this book. It is now available in paperback.

New Titles

 1) Arlott, Norman. Birds of the West Indies. 2010. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 240 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: The West Indies, stretching from Grand Bahama in the north to Grenada in the south, is home to more than 550 bird species. Birds of the West Indies is the complete guide for identifying all of the diverse birds in these island territories. The guide's 80 vivid color plates are accompanied by succinct text focusing on key field-identification characteristics, and distribution maps for all species are conveniently located at the back of the guide for handy reference.
     Birds of the West Indies is the perfect companion for birders, wildlife enthusiasts, and holiday-seekers interested in this area of the world:
1) 80 color plates featuring more than 550 bird species.
2) Concise text concentrates on field-identification characteristics.
3) Detailed distribution maps for each species ( in a section separate from the text and plates).
4) Easy-to-use and accessible--the ideal field guide.

RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Neotropical birds. I prefer Herbert Raffaele et al.'s Birds of West Indies (also available from Princeton University Press):


2) Simpson, Ken and Nicolas Day. Birds of Australia (Eighth Edition). 2010. Princeton University Press. Flexibinding: 381 pages. Price: $39.50 U.S.

SUMMARY: This is the completely revised eighth edition of Australia's best-selling field guide, with close to 600,000 copies sold. In 132 color plates of remarkable beauty and precision, Nicolas Day captures the details of all 780 of Australia's birds. Succinct text by Ken Simpson and other experts gives key points of identification for every species, as well as information about the birds' abundance and patterns of movement. Detailed color distribution maps accompany the species text.
     This updated edition includes three replacement plates, eleven additional rare species, taxonomic revisions, and additional color as well as black-and-white illustrations. The Vagrant Bird Bulletin contains illustrations and a map for all rare species. A useful breeding summary for every species gives immediate information regarding their annual breeding cycles.
     All readers, whether beginning or experienced birdwatchers, ornithologists, students, or travelers, will find Birds of Australia an unrivaled companion for discovering the unique birdlife of this remarkable continent.
RECOMMENDATION: I prefer the smaller The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (2nd edition) for field work. For at home, I prefer: The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (eighth edition) by Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight.


     Cleere, Nigel. Nightjars, Potoos, Frogmouths, Oilbird and Owlet-nightjars of the World. 2010. Princeton University Press/WildGuides. Hardbound: 464 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This is the ultimate identification guide to the nightjars, potoos, frogmouths, Oilbird, and owlet-nightjars of the world. Covering all 135 known species of these elusive and cryptically plumaged birds, this illustrated guide features more than 580 superb color photographs depicting every species and many subspecies, including numerous images never before published. Photos of museum specimens are provided for birds for which no images in the wild exist, including species not seen since their original discovery. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, confusion species, vocalizations, distribution, habitat and altitudinal range, breeding season and sites, egg type and clutch size, downy chick, status, and Red List category. This easy-to-use photographic guide also includes a color distribution map for every species as well as sections on plumage, taxonomy, and more.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with any interest in nightjars! Tropical birders will also find it useful. Although the text is concise, the photographs highlight this book!

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