Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Titles

1) Church, George and Ed Regis. Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. 2014. Basic Books. Paperback: 294 pages. Price: $19.99 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In Regenesis, Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities—and perils—of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies—far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction—have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.
RECOMMENDATION: A general overview of the subject.

2) Martin, Anthony J.. Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed By Their Trace Fossils. 2014. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 460 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: What if we woke up one morning all of the dinosaur bones in the world were gone? How would we know these iconic animals had a165-million year history on earth, and had adapted to all land-based environments from pole to pole? What clues would be left to discern not only their presence, but also to learn about their sex lives, raising of young, social lives, combat, and who ate who? What would it take for us to know how fast dinosaurs moved, whether they lived underground, climbed trees, or went for a swim?
      Welcome to the world of ichnology, the study of traces and trace fossils—such as tracks, trails, burrows, nests, toothmarks, and other vestiges of behavior—and how through these remarkable clues, we can explore and intuit the rich and complicated lives of dinosaurs. With a unique, detective-like approach, interpreting the forensic clues of these long-extinct animals that leave a much richer legacy than bones, Martin brings the wild world of the Mesozoic to life for the twenty-first century reader.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting introduction to the topic of ichnology.

3) Swan, Ed. The Birds of Vashon Island: A Natural History of Habitat & Population Transformation (Second Edition). 2013. Constancy Press, LLC. Paperback: 328 pages. Price: $28.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Vashon is a rural island of great bird habitat set in a sea of urban development. Its wind-swept beaches, thick stands of second-growth conifer and madrone forest, open farmland, and thickets are home to more than 250 different species of birds.
      Naturalist and author Ed Swan helps readers know more about the Island’s bird species and how and where to find them. He illuminates the connectedness of the birds to the condition of the land and water on which we all depend.
      First published in 2005, this book inspired Island residents and visitors to explore Vashon habitats and document and share their sightings of birds. Now, nearly a decade later, this new edition documents 15 additional species on the Vashon list. It includes updated and expanded species accounts, all-new color maps, dozens of color photos from some of the best nature photographers of the region.
     In addition, it includes:

        * Seasonal abundance charts for every species ever seen on Vashon
        *An updated site guide to all the best birding hot spots
        *A description of the habitat and history of this unique island jewel
        *A checklist of all the birds of Vashon, including every rarity ever spotted

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in the birds of the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The book is available here: http://theswancompany.com/books.html

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