Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Title

1) Stewart, Amy. Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects. 2011. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Hardbound: 272 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes—creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world’s most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the “bookworms” that devour libraries, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of six- and eight-legged creatures.
     With wit, style, and exacting research, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It’s an A to Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives (“She’s Just Not That Into You”), creatures lurking in the cupboard (“Fear No Weevil”), insects eating your tomatoes (“Gardener’s Dirty Dozen”), and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs (“Have No Fear”).
     Intricate and strangely beautiful etchings and drawings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs capture diabolical bugs of all shapes and sizes in this mixture of history, science, murder, and intrigue that begins—but doesn’t end—in your own backyard.
RECOMMENDATION: If you enjoyed the author's Wicked Plants, you'll enjoy this book!

Friday, April 29, 2011


1) Dyke, Gareth and Gary Kaiser (editors). Living Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary History of Modern Birds. 2011. Wiley-Blackwell. Hardbound: 422 pages. Price: $129.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Living Dinosaurs offers a snapshot of our current understanding of the origin and evolution of birds. After slumbering for more than a century, avian palaeontology has been awakened by startling new discoveries on almost every continent. Controversies about whether dinosaurs had real feathers or whether birds were related to dinosaurs have been swept away and replaced by new and more difficult questions: How old is the avian lineage? How did birds learn to fly? Which birds survived the great extinction that ended the Mesozoic Era and how did the avian genome evolve? Answers to these questions may help us understand how the different kinds of living birds are related to one another and how they evolved into their current niches. More importantly, they may help us understand what we need to do to help them survive the dramatic impacts of human activity on the planet.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in avian paleontology and/or systematics! For more information see here:

Thursday, April 28, 2011


1) Walters, Martin. Bird Watch: A Survey of Planet Earth's Changing Ecosystems. 2011. University of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 256 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: From the tufted puffin in the Pacific Northwest to the hook-billed hermit in the Brazilian rainforest, birds suffer from the effects of climate change in every corner of the globe. Scientists have found declines of up to 90 percent in some troubled bird populations and unprecedented reproductive failure in others. The most recent studies suggest dire prospects: 1,227 avian species are threatened with extinction and an additional 838 near-threatened species are urgent priorities for conservation action.
     As much an indispensable guide as a timely call to action, Bird Watch is an illustrated tour of these endangered birds and their habitats. Encyclopedic in scope, this book features all 1,227 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, thoroughly detailing the environmental pressures and conservation prescriptions that hold their futures in the balance. After introducing readers to the main threats to birds and regions at high risk, Bird Watch presents a visually stunning and scientifically accurate flight over the major bird habitats, including tropical forests; temperate and northern forests; deserts; mountains; grasslands; and Mediterranean, marine, freshwater, and oceanic islands. The volume concludes with an overview of bird species by region—categorized by family within each region, and a guide to the world’s best birding sites. Produced in cooperation with BirdLife International, Bird Watch is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of birds and their habitats—and a warning of the dangers they face around the world.
RECOMMENDATION: Although this title looks like your typical well illustrated coffee-table book, it has lots of information that will be useful for those with an interest in bird conservation.

New Title

1) Larson, Edward J.. An Empire Of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science. 2011. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 326 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Published to coincide with the centenary of the first expeditions to reach the South Pole, An Empire of Ice presents a fascinating new take on Antarctic exploration. Retold with added information, it's the first book to place the famed voyages of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, his British rivals Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton, and others in a larger scientific, social, and geopolitical context.
     Efficient, well prepared, and focused solely on the goal of getting to his destination and back, Amundsen has earned his place in history as the first to reach the South Pole. Scott, meanwhile, has been reduced in the public mind to a dashing incompetent who stands for little more than relentless perseverance in the face of inevitable defeat. An Empire of Ice offers a new perspective on the Antarctic expeditions of the early twentieth century by looking at the British efforts for what they actually were: massive scientific enterprises in which reaching the South Pole was but a spectacular sideshow. By focusing on the larger purpose, Edward Larson deepens our appreciation of the explorers' achievements, shares little-known stories, and shows what the Heroic Age of Antarctic discovery was really about.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in polar exploration.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Title

1) Albus, Anita. On Rare Birds. 2011. Lyons Press. Hardbound: 276 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: On Rare Birds is an endearing compilation of the history and extinction of several bird species, along with detailed accounts of many rare birds as well. Anita Albus combines her education in natural history and investigative reporting and turns this book into a captivating story of culture, mythology, and storytelling. She also includes her very own artwork throughout the book. On Rare Birds shows that how along with the extinction of these birds comes a great loss of culture, art, mythology, and science.
RECOMMENDATION: A detailed account on selected extinct and endangered species.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New and Recent Titles

1) Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. 2005. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 344 pages. Price: $39.50 U.S.

SUMMARY: This is the first guide to dragonflies and damselflies of the south-central United States. The book covers 263 species, representing more than half of the North American fauna. The area of coverage significantly overlaps with other regions of the country making this book a useful aid in identifying the dragonflies and damselflies in any part of the United States, Canada, or northeastern Mexico.
     More photographs of damselflies in North America appear here than in any other previously published work. All 85 damselfly and 178 dragonfly species found in the region are distinguished by photographs, numerous line drawings, keys, and detailed descriptions to help with identifications. Features include:

 *Discussions of habitats, zoogeography, and seasonality
 *Details on dragonfly and damselfly life history and conservation
 *An introduction on studying and photographing dragonflies and damselflies
 *An entire section devoted to the external anatomy of dragonflies and damselflies
 *Species accounts organized by family into sections on size, regional and general distribution, flight season, identification, similar species, habitat and biology and ecology
 *Range maps for each species, as well as an extensive bibliography and a list of resources for further study
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the Odonata of the region!

2) Feinstein, Julie. Field Guide to Urban Wildlife. 2011. Stackpole Books. Paperback: 454 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: This title helps to identify and understand the North American wildlife most commonly found living near humans - and how they have adapted to thrive in cities and suburbs. This is the first field guide of its type ever published. This title includes species that accounts for 135 common urban North American mammals, birds, and insects. It explores the relationships between animals and humans.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject.

3) O'Shea, Mark. Boas and Pythons of the World. 2011. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 160 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Few reptiles command more respect than the mighty boas and pythons. Prized for their size, relative docility, and spectacular coloration and patterning, they are the most dramatic snakes in the world. But the same snakes that many consider gentle giants--the Green Anaconda can exceed twelve yards in length--are also finely tuned killing machines. In Boas and Pythons of the World, renowned snake expert Mark O'Shea takes readers on an exciting continent-by-continent journey to look at these snakes in their native habitats. Stunning color photographs and intriguing stories from O'Shea's encounters with these snakes in the wild bring these reptiles to life.
     There is a tremendous variety of boas and pythons. While the largest are measured in yards, the smallest, the Javelin Sand Boa, is no longer than thirty-two inches. And they inhabit a vast range of habitats on five continents, from stony desert to lush tropical forest. In more than one hundred detailed species accounts, Boas and Pythons of the World examines snakes as different as the cryptically patterned Madagascan Ground Boa and Australasia's beautiful Green Tree Python.
     Although some of these snakes are capable of attacking and killing humans, boas and pythons are much more likely to be man's victims. Across the world, these snakes are retreating in the face of habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change. Addressing the dire risks they face, O'Shea discusses what can be done to help save what are among our most fascinating reptiles.

*Snake expert Mark O'Shea's tour of the fascinating world of boas, pythons, and basal snakes--from primitive blindsnakes to the mighty anaconda
*Dramatic accounts of O'Shea's personal encounters with these great snakes in their natural habitats--on five continents
*Detailed information about the snakes' habitats and behaviors
*Over 150 superb color photographs that capture the diverse beauty of more than 100 species, including rarely seen and endangered species
*Two world maps showing the distribution of the various families of boas, pythons, and basal snakes

RECOMMENDATION: This title is a well illustrated introduction to the boas and pythons of the World. Also by the same author: Venomous Snakes of the World

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Title

1) Stephens, John. The Emerald Atlas. 2011. Knopf. Hardbound: 417 pages. Price: $17.99 U.S.

SUMMARY: Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
     Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about. Until now.
     Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
     The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world. You can visit the book's website here:
 RECOMMENDATION: For ages 8-12. This book has elements from the Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia and Fablehaven series. I think this book should appeal to readers of those series especially Fablehaven readers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New and Recent Titles

1) Beccaloni, Jan. Arachnids. 2009. University of California Press. Hardbound: 320 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: With around 11 distinctive lineages and over 38,000 species of spiders alone, arachnids are an amazingly diverse group of invertebrates—and with names like the Goliath Bird-Eating Spider, the Tailless Whip Spider, and the Harvestman, they can be both spectacular and captivating. Most books about arachnids focus on spiders, neglecting scorpions, ticks, mites, wind spiders, and other fascinating yet poorly understood groups. This adventurous volume summarizes all existing knowledge about each major type of arachnid, revealing their secrets through detailed species accounts, brilliant photographs, and a compelling cast of eight-legged characters. It examines the anatomy, habitat, behavior and distribution of each lineage, from the garden spider to the death stalker scorpion and even a species of mite that lives inside a monkey's lungs. Drawing on the vast resources at London's Natural History Museum, Arachnids spins a sensational tale, debunking common myths and delving deep into the lives of these bizarre and beautiful creatures.
RECOMMENDATION: A detailed yet very readable account on these arthropods!

2) Grayson, Donald K.. The Great Basin: A Natural Prehistory (revised and expanded edition). 2011. University of California Press. Hardbound: 418 pages. Price: $75.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Covering a large swath of the American West, the Great Basin, centered in Nevada and including parts of California, Utah, and Oregon, is named for the unusual fact that none of its rivers or streams flow into the sea. This fascinating illustrated journey through deep time is the definitive environmental and human history of this beautiful and little traveled region, home to Death Valley, the Great Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, and the Bonneville Salt Flats. Donald K. Grayson synthesizes what we now know about the past 25,000 years in the Great Basin—its climate, lakes, glaciers, plants, animals, and peoples—based on information gleaned from the region’s exquisite natural archives in such repositories as lake cores, packrat middens, tree rings, and archaeological sites. A perfect guide for students, scholars, travelers, and general readers alike, the book weaves together history, archaeology, botany, geology, biogeography, and other disciplines into one compelling panorama across a truly unique American landscape.
 RECOMMENDATION: A detailed textbook-like title that will appeal mainly to Pleistocene and Holocene paleontologists and archaeologists that are interested in the region.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Title

1) Dorcas, Mike and Whit Gibbons. Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide. 2011. Johns Hopkins University Press. Paperback: 160 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: 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.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction to frogs (and some toads).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Title

1) Williams, Wendy. Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid. 2011. Abrams Image. Hardbound: 223 pages. Price: $21.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. The pages take the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science and adventure, along the way addressing some riddles about what intelligence is, and what monsters lie in the deep. In addition to squid, both giant and otherwise, Kraken examines other equally enthralling cephalopods, including the octopus and the cuttlefish, and explores their otherworldly abilities, such as camouflage and bioluminescence. Accessible and entertaining, Kraken is also the first substantial volume on the subject in more than a decade and a must for fans of popular science.
RECOMMENDATION: A very readable account on these "sea monsters".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Title

1) Romano, Craig. Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge. 2011. The Mountaineers Books. Paperback: 288 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: The Columbia River Gorge forms much of the long border between Washington and Oregon, offering hikers a multitude of beautiful trails. Famous for its cascading waterfalls, the region offers spectacular views of the mighty river and its windswept bluffs, as well as stunning panoramas of the surrounding landscape and peaks including Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, and the Sisters.
     Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge, by well-known hiking author Craig Romano, features:
• 100 day hikes on both sides of the river
• extensive year-round hiking options
• trails in the National Scenic Area, Silver Star Scenic Area, Trapper Creek, Clark County, and beyond
• easy-to-read icons for waterfalls, views, dog-friendly trails, and more
• detailed driving directions and trail maps
• info on flora and fauna, the unusual Gorge winds, and its abundance of waterfalls

RECOMMENDATION: A useful hiking guide to the region.

New Title

1) Klein, Nicole et al. (editors). Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs: Understanding the Life of Giants. 2011. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 331 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Sauropods, those lumbering plant-eating dinosaurs, possessed bodies that seem to defy every natural law. What were these creatures like as living animals and how could they reach such an enormous size? Working groups in Germany and Switzerland representing disciplines ranging from engineering and materials science to animal nutrition and paleontology went in search of the answers to these questions. Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs reports on the current state of the groups' research. Covering nutrition, physiology, skeletal structure and body plans, and growth, this volume provides the most up-to-date knowledge about the biology of these giant dinosaurs.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in sauropods dinosaurs. Other forthcoming science titles from IUP can be found here:

New and Recent Titles

1) Jones, Steve. The Darwin Archipelago: The Naturalist's Career Beyond Origin of Species. 2011. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 228 pages. Price: $27.50 U.S.

SUMMARY: Charles Darwin is of course best known for The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species. But he produced many other books over his long career, exploring specific aspects of the theory of evolution by natural selection in greater depth. The eminent evolutionary biologist Steve Jones uses these lesser-known works as springboards to examine how their essential ideas have generated whole fields of modern biology.
     Earthworms helped found modern soil science, Expression of the Emotions helped found comparative psychology, and Self-Fertilization and Forms of Flowers were important early works on the origin of sex. Through this delightful introduction to Darwin's oeuvre, one begins to see Darwin's role in biology as resembling Einstein's in physics: he didn't have one brilliant idea but many and in fact made some seminal contribution to practically every field of evolutionary study. Though these lesser-known works may seem disconnected, Jones points out that they all share a common theme: the power of small means over time to produce gigantic ends. Called a "world of wonders" by the Times of London, The Darwin Archipelago will expand any reader's view of Darwin's genius and will demonstrate how all of biology, like life itself, descends from a common ancestor.
RECOMMENDATION: For those that want to learn about Darwin's other published works.

2) Mayor, Adrienne. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times. 2011. Princeton University press. Paperback: 361 pages. Price: $18.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Griffins, Cyclopes, Monsters, and Giants--these fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination through the vivid accounts that have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what if these beings were more than merely fictions? What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in The First Fossil Hunters. Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in fact--in the enormous bones of long-extinct species that were once abundant in the lands of the Greeks and Romans.
     As Mayor shows, the Greeks and Romans were well aware that a different breed of creatures once inhabited their lands. They frequently encountered the fossilized bones of these primeval beings, and they developed sophisticated concepts to explain the fossil evidence, concepts that were expressed in mythological stories. The legend of the gold-guarding griffin, for example, sprang from tales first told by Scythian gold-miners, who, passing through the Gobi Desert at the foot of the Altai Mountains, encountered the skeletons of Protoceratops and other dinosaurs that littered the ground.
     Like their modern counterparts, the ancient fossil hunters collected and measured impressive petrified remains and displayed them in temples and museums; they attempted to reconstruct the appearance of these prehistoric creatures and to explain their extinction. Long thought to be fantasy, the remarkably detailed and perceptive Greek and Roman accounts of giant bone finds were actually based on solid paleontological facts. By reading these neglected narratives for the first time in the light of modern scientific discoveries, Adrienne Mayor illuminates a lost world of ancient paleontology.
RECOMMENDATION: Now available in paperback with a new introduction by the author. If you enjoyed the author's other titles, you will enjoy this one! Also by the author:

3) Page, Lawrence M. and Brooks M. Burr. Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of North America North of Mexico (second edition). 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 663 pages. Price: $21.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: There are nearly 1,000 species of freshwater fishes in North America alone, and identifying them can sometimes be a daunting task. In fact, in just the twenty years since publication of the first edition of the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, the number of species has risen by almost 150, including 19 marine invaders and 16 newly established nonnative species. This second edition incorporates all of these new species, plus all-new maps and a collection of new and revised plates. Some of the species can be told apart only by minute differences in coloration or shape, and these beautifully illustrated plates reveal exactly how to distinguish each species.
     The guide includes detailed maps and information showing where to locate each species of fish—whether that species can be found in miles-long stretches of river or small pools that cover only dozens of square feet. The ichthyologic world of the twenty-first century is not the same as it was in the twentieth, and this brand-new edition of the definitive field guide to freshwater fishes reflects these many changes.
 RECOMMENDATION: The number of plates have increased from 48 to 57. The range maps are now in color. If you own the first edition you will want the second edition.

4) Thompson, Bill III and Connie Toops. Hummingbirds and Butterflies: Backyard Bird Guides. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 288 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Hummingbirds and butterflies are some of the most beautiful visitors to a backyard, but they can also be some of the most elusive. This second collaboration between the Peterson Field Guide series and Bird Watcher’s Digest includes tips on how to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to backyards—and how to identify them once they’ve arrived. Bill Thompson III and Connie Toops have decades of firsthand experience and have written the book in a fun, lighthearted style, providing both amateur and veteran nature watchers with need-to-know information, including where hummingbirds and butterflies live, what they eat, and the best garden plants to attract them. The species profiles of the 15 most common hummingbirds and 40 most common butterflies serve as a field guide, showing ranges, identifying marks, and preferred habitats. Full-color photographs and detailed drawings make attracting, identifying, and feeding these colorful creatures a snap.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction on the subject.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


1) Kaufman, Kenn. Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding What You See and Hear. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Paperback: 448 pages. Price: $21.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Birders can memorize hundreds of details and still not be able to identify birds if they don’t really understand what’s in front of them.Today birders have access to almost too much information, and their attempts to identify birds can be drowned out by excess detail. The all-new Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding takes a different approach, clarifying the basics and providing a framework for learning about each group. Overall principles of identification are explained in clear language, and ten chapters on specific groups of birds show how these principles can be applied in practice. Anyone with a keen interest in identifying birds will find that this book makes the learning process more effective and enjoyable, and that truly understanding what we see and hear can make birding more fun.

RECOMMENDATION: When compared to Kaufman's 1990 Advanced Birding title this book has color illustrations but fewer species accounts (34 in the old book vs. 24 in the new book) but has many more introductory chapters (1 chapter in the old book vs. 7 chapters in the new book). I recommend this book for intermediate to advanced birders wanting to improve their birding skills.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Titles

1) Byers, Clive. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peru. 2011. New Holland Publishers. Paperback: 144 pages. Price: GBP 7.99 (about $12.89 U.S.).

SUMMARY: A country of huge scenic diversity, Peru is a birdwatcher's paradise and a popular tourist destination. In constant competition with its neighbours Colombia and Ecuador as to which country can claim the highest number of bird species, Peru is home to about 1,800 different types. These range from the mighty Andean Condor to a dazzling variety of jewel-like hummingbirds.
     Many dramatic birds can be seen in the capital city of Lima itself, with bright and fiery Vermilion Flycatchers in the parks and gardens, noisy Canary-winged Parakeets in the streets and exotic Inca Terns and Peruvian Pelicans along the shoreline. Deep in the forests of the Amazon basin lurk birds of great variety and beauty: antpittas, trogons, manakins, motmots and cocks-of-the-rock – intriguing names that represent some of the most exciting birds anywhere.
     This concise and easy-to-use guide features 252 of Peru’s most interesting and spectacular birds, with each illustrated in full colour and with key information on identification, habitat and distribution.
RECOMMENDATION: For beginning birders or ecotourists.

2) Chandler, David. Barn Owl. 2011. New Holland Publishers. Hardbound: 128 pages. Price: GBP 12.99 (about $20.94 U.S.).
SUMMARY: The sight of a ghostly Barn Owl quartering a field at dusk is not one that is easily forgotten, but the day-to-day lives of these captivating birds are little known to most people.
     In this book, insightful text coupled with rarely seen images of the species’ life and behaviour introduce the reader to some of the most fascinating aspects of a remarkable nocturnal existence. There are chapters on subjects such as hunting, courtship and survival. The owls are further brought to life through a series of personal anecdotes from the author and photographer, which are woven into the text.
     The book is part of a series that also includes titles on the Kingfisher and Peregrine Falcon.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone interested in the Barn Owl!

3) Couzens, Dominic. Top Birding Sites of Europe. 2011. New Holland Publishers. Hardbound: 192 pages. Price: GBP 22.99 (about $37.07 U.S.).
SUMMARY: If you have ever dreamt of seeing Snowy Owls in Norway, spectacular raptor migration by the Black Sea, Wallcreepers in the Pyrenees or seabird cities off Scotland, then this book and CD package is for you.
     Top Birding Sites of Europe features more than 30 detailed accounts of the continent's finest bird locations, from the famous Camargue and Coto Donana, to some less well known but no less productive destinations.
     The expertly written and very readable text is backed up by lavish photos of the birds and scenery at each of the chosen hot-spots, including rare images of amazing species and some of the continent's most stunning avian spectacles.
     A CD of key birds sounds complements the entries on each site.
     Whether you want to use it to plan your holidays for years to come, or just as an inspirational book to dip into, Top Birding Sites of Europe will have a wide appeal for all those with an interest in birds.
RECOMMENDATION: This coffee table book should be of interest for birders visiting Europe.

4) Hammond, Nicholas. New Holland Concise Garden Wildlife Guide. 2011. New Holland Publishers. Paperback with plastic cover: 192 pages. Price: GBP 4.99 (about $8.05 U.S.).
SUMMARY: This beautifully illustrated pocket guide is packed with information on the wildlife that can be found in gardens in Britain and the near Continent, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, molluscs and crustaceans. It covers around 200 species, all of which are illustrated with superb full-colour artworks.
     A concise written account covering size, description, voice, habitat, distribution and habits appears on the same page as the illustration for each species. The easy-to-follow layouts and superb artworks aid quick and accurate identification, and make this book an invaluable reference outdoors as well as at home.
     To protect it against the elements, the book is wrapped in a durable plastic wallet. Also included is a fold-out insert illustrating differences between similar species, and assisting in quick identification.
RECOMMENDATION: For amateur naturalists wanting to learn about what's in their back garden.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Title

1) Kricher, John. Tropical Ecology. 2011. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 632 pages. Price: $85.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This full-color illustrated textbook offers the first comprehensive introduction to all major aspects of tropical ecology. It explains why the world's tropical rain forests are so universally rich in species, what factors may contribute to high species richness, how nutrient cycles affect rain forest ecology, and how ecologists investigate the complex interrelationships among flora and fauna. It covers tropical montane ecology, riverine ecosystems, savanna, dry forest--and more.
     Tropical Ecology begins with a historical overview followed by a sweeping discussion of biogeography and evolution, and then introduces students to the unique and complex structure of tropical rain forests. Other topics include the processes that influence everything from species richness to rates of photosynthesis: how global climate change may affect rain forest characteristics and function; how fragmentation of ecosystems affects species richness and ecological processes; human ecology in the tropics; biodiversity; and conservation of tropical ecosystems and species.
     Drawing on real-world examples taken from actual research, Tropical Ecology is the best textbook on the subject for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

*Offers the first comprehensive introduction to tropical ecology
*Describes all the major kinds of tropical terrestrial ecosystems
*Explains species diversity, evolutionary processes, and coevolutionary interactions
*Features numerous color illustrations and examples from actual research
*Covers global warming, deforestation, reforestation, fragmentation, and conservation
*The essential textbook for advanced undergraduates and graduate students
*Suitable for courses with a field component

RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in tropical ecology. Also by the author: