Friday, April 21, 2017

New Title



1) Couzens, Dominic et al.. Britain's Mammals: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Britain and Ireland. 2017. Princeton University Press. Flexibound: 328 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY:  Britain's Mammals is a comprehensive and beautifully designed photographic field guide to all the mammals recorded in the wild in Britain and Ireland in recent times--including marine mammals, bats and introduced species that have bred. The book features hundreds of stunning photographs and incorporates invaluable tips and suggestions to help you track down and identify even the most difficult species.
     This easy-to-use book provides an introduction to the different types of mammal. Concise species accounts focus on identification and include up-to-date information on sounds, habitat, food, habits, breeding behaviour and population and status, as well as descriptions of key field signs--including tracks, droppings and nests--that give away the presence of mammals even when they are out of sight. In addition, guidance is provided on ways of studying and observing mammals--including small-mammal trapping, bat detecting and whale watching--as well as mammal conservation, legislation and further sources of useful information. Handy and informative, this guide is the ideal companion for anyone interested in watching mammals in Britain and Ireland.
  • Comprehensive coverage of every mammal recorded in Britain and Ireland
  • 500 superb colour photographs carefully selected to show key identification features
  • Up-to-date distribution maps
  • Detailed illustrations of tracks, dentition and other identification features
  • Helpful tips for identifying tracks and other signs you may find in the field
  • Latest information on status, population, distribution and conservation designations
  • Advice on finding and watching mammals
 RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of the region's mammals.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Title


1) Grewal, Bikram et al.. A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. 2017. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 792 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S. 
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This is the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the birds of the entire Indian subcontinent. Every distinct species and subspecies--some 1,375 in all--is covered with photographs, text, and maps. The guide features more than 4,000 stunning photographs, many never before published, which have been carefully selected to illustrate key identification features of each species. The up-to-date facing-page text includes concise descriptions of plumage, voice, range, habitat, and recent taxonomic changes. Each species has a detailed map reflecting the latest distribution information and containing notes on status and population density. The guide also features an introduction that provides an overview of birdlife and a brief history of ornithology in India and its neighbors. The result is an encyclopedic photographic guide that is essential for everyone birding anywhere in the subcontinent.
  • Covers all 1,375 subcontinental bird species
  • Features more than 4,000 stunning photographs to aid quick field identification
  • Includes up-to-date facing-page text and range maps
  • Contains concise descriptions of plumage, voice, habitat, and much more
RECOMMENDATION: A useful supplement to the standard field guides of the region.

Monday, April 17, 2017

New Titles



1) Dunne, Pete with Kevin T. Karlson. Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 305 pages. Price: $26.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A visually stunning, comprehensive resource on North America’s birds of prey.
     Always a popular group of birds, raptors symbolize freedom and fierceness, and in Pete Dunne’s definitive guide, these traits are portrayed in hundreds of stunning color photographs showing raptors up close, in flight, and in action—fighting, hunting, and nesting. 
      These gorgeous photographs enhance the comprehensive, authoritative text, which goes far beyond identification to cover raptor ecology, behavior, conservation, and much more. 
       In returning to his forte and his first love, Pete Dunne has crafted a benchmark book on raptors: the first place to turn for any question about these highly popular birds, whether it’s what they eat, where they live, or how they behave.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview of North American diurnal raptors.


2) Reynolds, John E., III and Wayne Lynch. Florida Manatees: Biology, Behavior, and Conservation. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 147 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Manatees, the gentle giants of Florida’s lagoons and coastal habitats, can bring a smile to the face of anybody lucky enough to spy one. As manatees dip and roll through the water, crowds gather to watch them feed on aquatic vegetation. Whether they are congregating by the hundreds or resting or feeding alone, viewing these sea cows can provide anyone interested in nature with hours of tranquil pleasure.
     Having survived for eons, today’s manatees are now under constant threat due to our rapidly swelling human population. Their habitats are often devastated by development and pollution. The slow-moving manatees also live at the mercy of chance, for they occupy waters filled with fast-moving boats powered by razor-sharp propellers―a new form of predator from which they have no protection. Boat speed limits have been put in place to protect manatees, but there is a constant push to lift them so that people can once again zip across the waters that manatees call home. For this reason, manatees are often a subject of controversy that pits their lives against the rights of boat owners.
     In this book, manatee expert John E. Reynolds III and famed photographer Wayne Lynch join forces to reveal the clearest portrait of manatees ever published. Florida Manatees is a song for the manatee, a celebration of the lives of these majestic creatures. Reynolds’s concise, informative text shares what scientists know about manatees, while Lynch’s beautiful photographs instantly demonstrate how special these "potatoes with whiskers" really are. By encouraging an appreciation of manatees, the authors hope to help ensure a future in which Floridians can find ways to coexist with and continue to enjoy these uniquely wonderful sirenian inhabitants of their state.
Included in this book:· How manatees first came to Florida waters· How manatees fit into the ecosystems of Florida· What and how much manatees eat· How manatees behave and communicate with one another· Why manatees look the way they do· Why manatees have whiskers· How manatee mothers feed their young and much more.
RECOMMENDATION: A good overview on the species.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Title


1) Rivers, David B.. Insects: Evolutionary Success, Unrivaled Diversity, and World Domination. 2017. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 474 pages. Price: $99.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Designed as an introduction to the intriguing world of insect biology, this book examines familiar entomological topics in nontraditional ways. Author David B. Rivers gives important concepts relatable context through a pop culture lens, and he covers subjects that are not typical for entomology textbooks, including the impact of insects on the human condition, the sex lives of insects, why insects are phat but not fat, forensic entomology, and the threats that some insects pose to humanity.
     Each chapter presents clear and concise key concepts, chapter reviews, review questions following Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, web links to videos and other resources, and breakout boxes (called Fly Spots) that capture student interest with unique and entertaining facts related to entomology. Focusing on both traditional and cutting-edge aspects of insect biology and packed with extensive learning resources, Insects covers a wide range of topics suitable for life science majors, as well as non-science students, including:
• the positive and negative influences of insects on everyday human life• insect abundance• insect classification (here presented in the context of social media)• insect feeding, communication, defense, and sex• how insects are responding to climate change• forensic entomology• how insects can be used as weapons of war• how insects relate to national security• why insects have wings• how to read pesticide labels.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in insect biology.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Title



1) Rieppel, Olivier. Turtles as Hopeful Monsters: Origins and Evolution. 2017. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 206 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Where do turtles hail from? Why and how did they acquire shells? These questions have spurred heated debate and intense research for more than two hundred years. Brilliantly weaving evidence from the latest paleontological discoveries with an accessible, incisive look at different theories of biological evolution and their proponents, Turtles as Hopeful Monsters tells the fascinating evolutionary story of the shelled reptiles. Paleontologist Olivier Rieppel traces the evolution of turtles from over 220 million years ago, examining closely the relationship of turtles to other reptiles and charting the development of the shell. Turtle issues fuel a debate between proponents of gradual evolutionary change and authors favoring change through bursts and leaps of macromutation. The first book-length popular history of its type, this indispensable resource is an engaging read for all those fascinated by this ubiquitous and uniquely shaped reptile.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in turtle evolution.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Title



1) Higgins, Richard. Thoreau and the Language of Trees. 2017. University of California Press. Hardbound: 231 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Trees were central to Henry David Thoreau’s creativity as a writer, his work as a naturalist, his thought, and his inner life. His portraits of them were so perfect, it was as if he could see the sap flowing beneath their bark. When Thoreau wrote that the poet loves the pine tree as his own shadow in the air, he was speaking about himself. In short, he spoke their language.
     In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit. Included are one hundred excerpts from Thoreau’s writings about trees, paired with over sixty of the author’s photographs. Thoreau’s words are as vivid now as they were in 1890, when an English naturalist wrote that he was unusually able to “to preserve the flashing forest colors in unfading light.” Thoreau and the Language of Trees shows that Thoreau, with uncanny foresight, believed trees were essential to the preservation of the world.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Thoreau's writings should enjoy this book.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Titles


1) Ewing, Susan. Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 282 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: A prehistoric mystery. A fossil so mesmerizing that it boggled the minds of scientists for more than a century―until a motley crew of modern day shark fanatics decided to try to bring the monster-predator back to life.
     In 1993, Alaskan artist and paleo-shark enthusiast Ray Troll stumbled upon the weirdest fossil he had ever seen―a platter-sized spiral of tightly wound shark teeth. This chance encounter in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County sparked Troll’s obsession with Helicoprion, a mysterious monster from deep time.
     In 2010, tattooed undergraduate student and returning Iraq War veteran Jesse Pruitt became seriously smitten with a Helicoprion fossil in a museum basement in Idaho. These two bizarre-shark disciples found each other, and an unconventional band of collaborators grew serendipitously around them, determined to solve the puzzle of the mysterious tooth whorl once and for all.
     Helicoprion was a Paleozoic chondrichthyan about the size of a modern great white shark, with a circular saw of teeth centered in its lower jaw―a feature unseen in the shark world before or since. For some ten million years, long before the Age of Dinosaurs, Helicoprion patrolled the shallow seas around the supercontinent Pangaea as the apex predator of its time.
     Just a few tumultuous years after Pruitt and Troll met, imagination, passion, scientific process, and state-of-the-art technology merged into an unstoppable force that reanimated the remarkable creature―and made important new discoveries.
     In this groundbreaking book, Susan Ewing reveals these revolutionary insights into what Helicoprion looked like and how the tooth whorl functioned―pushing this dazzling and awe-inspiring beast into the spotlight of modern science.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in fossil sharks. Ray Troll's artwork highlights this book!




2) Head, Vernon R.L.. The Rarest Bird in the World: The Search for the Nechisar Nightjar. 2016 (2017). Pegasus Books. Paperback: 243 pages. Price: $16.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia. On that expedition, they collected more than two dozen specimens, saw more than three hundred species of birds, and a plethora of rare butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals, and plants. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world. This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Caprimulgus solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream. Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.
RECOMMENDATION: The paperback version features the cover art of Julie Zickefoose.