The Nature of Diversity

Author: Daniel R. Brooks
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226922472
Format: PDF
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All living things on earth—from individual species to entire ecosystems—have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives. Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution—the history of organisms—is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats. The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.

Messages from Islands

Author: Ilkka Hanski
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022640658X
Format: PDF, ePub
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From a small island in the Baltic Sea to the large tropical islands of Borneo and Madagascar, Messages from Islands is a global tour of these natural, water-bound laboratories. In this career-spanning work, Ilkka Hanski draws upon the many islands on which he performed fieldwork to convey key themes in ecology. By exploring the islands’ biodiversity as an introduction to general issues, Hanski helps us to learn how species and communities interact in fragmented landscapes, how evolution generates biodiversity, and how this biodiversity is maintained over time. Beginning each chapter on a particular island, Hanski dives into reflections on his own field studies before going on to pursue a variety of ecological questions, including: What is the biodiversity crisis? What are extinction thresholds and extinction debts? What can the biodiversity hypothesis tell us about rapidly increasing allergies, asthma, and other chronic inflammatory disorders? The world’s largest island, Greenland, for instance, is the starting point for a journey into the benefits that humankind acquires from biodiversity, including the staggering biodiversity of microbes in the ecosystems that are closest to us—the ecosystems in our guts, in our respiratory tracts, and under our skin. Conceptually oriented but grounded in an adventurous personal narrative, Messages from Islands is a landmark work that lifts the natural mysteries of islands from the sea, bringing to light the thrilling complexities and connections of ecosystems worldwide.

A World in One Cubic Foot

Author: David Liittschwager
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226481239
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Twelve inches by twelve inches by twelve inches, the cubic foot is a relatively tiny unit of measure compared to the whole world. With every step, we disturb and move through cubic foot after cubic foot. But behold the cubic foot in nature—from coral reefs to cloud forests to tidal pools—even in that finite space you can see the multitude of creatures that make up a vibrant ecosystem. For A World in One Cubic Foot, esteemed nature photographer David Liittschwager took a bright green metal cube—measuring precisely one cubic foot—and set it in various ecosystems around the world, from Costa Rica to Central Park. Working with local scientists, he measured what moved through that small space in a period of twenty-four hours. He then photographed the cube’s setting and the plant, animal, and insect life inside it—anything visible to the naked eye. The result is a stunning portrait of the amazing diversity that can be found in ecosystems around the globe. Many organisms captured in Liittschwager’s photographs have rarely, if ever, been presented in their full splendor to the general reader, and the singular beauty of these images evocatively conveys the richness of life around us and the essential need for its conservation. The breathtaking images are accompanied by equally engaging essays that speak to both the landscapes and the worlds contained within them, from distinguished contributors such as Elizabeth Kolbert and Alan Huffman, in addition to an introduction by E. O. Wilson. After encountering this book, you will never look at the tiniest sliver of your own backyard or neighborhood park the same way; instead, you will be stunned by the unexpected variety of species found in an area so small. A World in One Cubic Foot puts the world accessibly in our hands and allows us to behold the magic of an ecosystem in miniature. Liittschwager’s awe-inspiring photographs take us to places both familiar and exotic and instill new awareness of the life that abounds all around.

What Is Biodiversity

Author: James Maclaurin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226500829
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In the life sciences, there is wide-ranging debate about biodiversity. While nearly everyone is in favor of biodiversity and its conservation, methods for its assessment vary enormously. So what exactly is biodiversity? Most theoretical work on the subject assumes it has something to do with species richness—with the number of species in a particular region—but in reality, it is much more than that. Arguing that we cannot make rational decisions about what it is to be protected without knowing what biodiversity is, James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny offer in What Is Biodiversity? a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued. Here, Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and Sterelny also explore the case for the conservation of these biodiversities using option value theory, a tool borrowed from economics. An erudite, provocative, timely, and creative attempt to answer a fundamental question, What Is Biodiversity? will become a foundational text in the life sciences and studies thereof.

Systematics Evolution and Biogeography of Compositae

Author: Vicki A. Funk
Publisher:
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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"This spectacular book does full justice to the Compositae (Asteraceae), the largest and most successful flowering plant family with some 1700 genera and 24,000 species. It is an indispensable reference, providing the most up-to-date hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships in the family based on molecular and morphological characters, along with the corresponding subfamilial and tribal classification. The 2009 work not only integrates the extensive molecular phylogenetic analyses conducted in the last 25 years, but also uses these to produce a metatree for about 900 taxa of Compositae. The book contains 44 chapters, contributed by 80 authors, covering the history, economic importance, character variation, and systematic and phylogenetic diversity of the family. The emphasis of this work is phylogenetic; its chapters provide a detailed, current, and thoroughly documented presentation of the major (and not so major) clades in the family, citing some 2632 references. Like the Compositae, the book is massive, diverse, and fascinating. It is beautifully illustrated, with 170 figures, and an additional 108 cladograms (all consistently color-coded, based on the geographic range of the included taxa); within these figures are displayed 443 color photographs, clearly demonstrating the amazing array of floral and vegetative form expressed by members of the clade." --NHBS Environment Bookstore.

Fragile Web

Author: Jonathan W. Silvertown
Publisher:
ISBN:
Format: PDF
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Jonathan Silvertown is professor of ecology at the Open University, Milton Keynes, and the author of An Orchard Invisible and Demons in Eden and editor of 99% Ape, all published by the University of Chicago Press. --Book Jacket.

Foundations of Ecology

Author: Leslie A. Real
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022618210X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Assembled here for the first time in one volume are forty classic papers that have laid the foundations of modern ecology. Whether by posing new problems, demonstrating important effects, or stimulating new research, these papers have made substantial contributions to an understanding of ecological processes, and they continue to influence the field today. The papers span nearly nine decades of ecological research, from 1887 on, and are organized in six sections: foundational papers, theoretical advances, synthetic statements, methodological developments, field studies, and ecological experiments. Selections range from Connell's elegant account of experiments with barnacles to Watt's encyclopedic natural history, from a visionary exposition by Grinnell of the concept of niche to a seminal essay by Hutchinson on diversity. Six original essays by contemporary ecologists and a historian of ecology place the selections in context and discuss their continued relevance to current research. This combination of classic papers and fresh commentaries makes Foundations of Ecology both a convenient reference to papers often cited today and an essential guide to the intellectual and conceptual roots of the field. Published with the Ecological Society of America.