How and why vertebrate paleontology flourished at New York’s American Museum of Natural History in the early 20th century
With a main focus on Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935), a prominent scientist and administrator who dominated vertebrate paleontology in that era and played a pivotal role in creating a leading institution and a manor program of research in that field.
Born into a wealthy New York family, Osborn was in a unique position to follow vigorously his scientific interests in vertebrate paleontology and further worldwide science education through use of the considerable social, political, and financial resources at his command. Yet he was able to guide the development of the American Museum of Natural History’s program in vertebrate paleontology in such a manner as to avoid conflict with the values and beliefs associated with the interests of the upper-class elite who supported the program.
His ties to a wide network of influential figures, including the trustees of the American Museum, provided him with the political and financial resources necessary to build a major program in vertebrate paleontology. An ambitious and energetic man, Osborn took advantage of those opportunities to promote his field of study and to establish himself as a leading administrator at the American Museum, Colombia University, and the New York Zoological Society.
Although Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing—or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.
A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville’s novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow’s nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851—at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab’s and Ishmael’s worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been entirely foreign, if not absurd, to Melville, King argues that Melville’s narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism.
Featuring a coffer of illustrations and an array of interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab’s Rolling Sea offers new insight not only into a cherished masterwork and its author but also into our evolving relationship with the briny deep—from whale hunters to climate refugees.
"A stimulating and readable venture in the history of ideas. Blending arguments and material from philosophy, theology, history and science, Rue addresses a fundamental problem in Western Culture: the crisis of meaning and the eclipse of the shared value system upon which personal wholeness and social coherence in the West have been based."
In Ancient Piñon-Juniper Woodlands, editor Lisa Floyd gathers together noted scientists and historians to celebrate the varied and unique woodland region surrounding Mesa Verde National Park. One of the most widespread habitat types in the West, piñon-juniper woodlands have faced extensive eradication, grazing pressures, and the encroachment of human developments, and, consequently, only a few mature stands have reached their full growth potential. Mesa Verde Country, with its deep canyons and high ridgetops, is the magnificent home of many of these ancient stands.
Impressively broad in scope, Floyd's volume thoroughly explores Mesa Verde Country's important and historic ecosystem. Covering such diverse topics as geologic evolution, natural history, human history, bats, and fungi, to name but a few, this volume will appeal to scientists, resource managers, conservationists, and the lay reader with an interest in this most western of ecosystems. Technical Editors: David D. Hanna, William H. Romme and Marilyn Colyer
In Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s most famous paintings, grapes, fish, and even the beaks of birds form human hair. A pear stands in for a man’s chin. Citrus fruits sprout from a tree trunk that doubles as a neck. All sorts of natural phenomena come together on canvas and panel to assemble the strange heads and faces that constitute one of Renaissance art’s most striking oeuvres. The first major study in a generation of the artist behind these remarkable paintings, Arcimboldo tells the singular story of their creation.
Drawing on his thirty-five-year engagement with the artist, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann begins with an overview of Arcimboldo’s life and work, exploring the artist’s early years in sixteenth-century Lombardy, his grounding in Leonardesque traditions, and his tenure as a Habsburg court portraitist in Vienna and Prague. Arcimboldo then trains its focus on the celebrated composite heads, approaching them as visual jokes with serious underpinnings—images that poetically display pictorial wit while conveying an allegorical message. In addition to probing the humanistic, literary, and philosophical dimensions of these pieces, Kaufmann explains that they embody their creator’s continuous engagement with nature painting and natural history. He reveals, in fact, that Arcimboldo painted many more nature studies than scholars have realized—a finding that significantly deepens current interpretations of the composite heads.
Demonstrating the previously overlooked importance of these works to natural history and still-life painting, Arcimboldo finally restores the artist’s fantastic visual jokes to their rightful place in the history of both science and art.
An Arkansas Florilegium is a late-flowering extension of the work initiated sixty years ago with University of Arkansas botanist Edwin B. Smith’s first entries in his pioneering Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas. Soon after this seminal survey of the state’s flora was published in 1978, Kent Bonar, a Missouri-born Thoreau acolyte employed as a naturalist by the Arkansas Park Service, began lugging the volume along on hikes through the woods surrounding his Newton County home, entering hundreds upon hundreds of meticulous illustrations into Smith’s work.
Thirty-five years later, with Smith retired and Bonar long gone from the park service but still drawing, Bonar’s weathered and battered copy of the atlas was seized by a diverse cadre of amateur admirers motivated by fears of its damage or loss. Their fears were certainly justified; after all, the pages were now jammed to the margins with some 3,500 drawings, and the volume had already survived one accidental dunking in an Ozark stream.
An Arkansas Florilegium brings Smith’s and Bonar’s knowledge and lifelong diligence to the world in this unique mix of art, science, and Arkansas saga.
Since antiquity, bats have been misunderstood and shrouded in mystery. Given misnomers such as fledermaus ("flying mouse") and murciegalo ("blind mouse"), these nocturnal flying mammals were even classified as primates by the great Carl Linnaeus, based on his knowledge of the anatomy of large Old World fruit bats. In this beautifully illustrated volume, bat specialist Rick A. Adams delves into bats' true nature and the roles these fascinating ledurblaka ("leather flutterers") play in the natural history and ecology of the Rocky Mountain West.
Bats of the Rocky Mountain West begins with a general discussion of bat biology and evolution as well as regional physiography and zoogeography. In addition, Adams describes - based on the results of extensive research - the behavior and ecology of the 31 species of bats found in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Naturalists and biologists alike will benefit from the detailed species descriptions, color photographs and illustrations, distribution maps, and echolocation sonograms. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West is a unique and valuable reference for professional bat biologists, naturalists, and wildlife enthusiasts interested in the conservation and ecology of bats in the region.
This book is the most comprehensive ever published on the diverse bird life of the Great Basin. In a concise and readable style, Fred Ryser discusses the history, physiology, behavior, ecology, and distribution of nearly four hundred species, including information on navigation, flight, territorial behavior, courtship, nesting, hunting, and migration. Introductory chapters examine how birds survive the extremes of the basin environment, how they maintain heat and water balance, and other important topics in avian biology. Birds of the Great Basin is a standard reference work in American ornithology and an important acquisition for anyone interested in western birds.
Humanity is by many measures the biggest success story in the animal kingdom; but what are the costs of this triumph? Over its three million years of existence, the human species has continuously modified nature and drained its resources. In Cataclysms, Laurent Testot provides the full tally, offering a comprehensive environmental history of humanity’s unmatched and perhaps irreversible influence on the world.
Testot explores the interconnected histories of human evolution and planetary deterioration, arguing that our development from naked apes to Homo sapiens has entailed wide-scale environmental harm. Testot makes the case that humans have usually been catastrophic for the planet, “hyperpredators” responsible for mass extinctions, deforestation, global warming, ocean acidification, and unchecked pollution, as well as the slaughter of our own species. Organized chronologically around seven technological revolutions, Cataclysms unspools the intertwined saga of humanity and our environment, from our shy beginnings in Africa to today’s domination of the planet, revealing how we have blown past any limits along the way—whether by exploding our own population numbers, domesticating countless other species, or harnessing energy from fossils. Testot’s book, while sweeping, is light and approachable, telling the stories—sometimes rambunctious, sometimes appalling—of how a glorified monkey transformed its own environment beyond all recognition.
In order to begin reversing our environmental disaster, we must have a better understanding of our own past and the incalculable environmental costs incurred at every stage of human innovation. Cataclysms offers that understanding and the hope that we can now begin to reform our relationship to the Earth.
“Ceremonial time” occurs when past, present, and future can be perceived simultaneously. Experienced only rarely, usually during ritual dance, this escape from linear time is the vehicle for John Mitchell’s extraordinary writing. In this, his most magical book, he traces the life of a single square mile in New England, from the last ice age through years of human history, including bear shamans, colonists, witches, local farmers, and encroaching industrial “parks.”
Concrete floors and concrete walls, buildings that pierce the sky, taxicabs and subway corridors, a steady din of noise. These things, along with a virtually unrivaled collection of museums, galleries, performance venues, media outlets, international corporations, and stock exchanges make New York City not only the cultural and financial capital of the United States, but one of the largest and most impressive urban conglomerations in the world. With distinctions like these, is it possible to imagine the city as any more than this?
City at the Water's Edge invites readers to do just that. Betsy McCully, a long-time urban dweller, argues that this city of lights is much more than a human-made metropolis. It has a rich natural history that is every bit as fascinating as the glitzy veneer that has been built atop it. Through twenty years of nature exploration, McCully has come to know New York as part of the Lower Hudson Bioregion-a place of salt marshes and estuaries, sand dunes and barrier islands, glacially sculpted ridges and kettle holes, rivers and streams, woodlands and outwash plains. Here she tells the story of New York that began before the first humans settled in the region twelve thousand years ago, and long before immigrants ever arrived at Ellis Island. The timeline that she recounts is one that extends backward half a billion years; it plumbs the depths of Manhattan's geological history and forecasts a possible future of global warming, with rising seas lapping at the base of the Empire State Building.
Counter to popular views that see the city as a marvel of human ingenuity diametrically opposed to nature, this unique account shows how the region has served as an evolving habitat for a diversity of species, including our own. The author chronicles the growth of the city at the expense of the environment, but leaves the reader with a vision of a future city as a human habitat that is brought into balance with nature.
More than a third of the houses in the world are made of clay. Clay vessels were instrumental in the invention of cooking, wine and beer making, and international trade. Our toilets are made of clay. The first spark plugs were thrown on the potter’s wheel. Clay has played a vital role in the health and beauty fields. Indeed, this humble material was key to many advances in civilization, including the development of agriculture and the invention of baking, architecture, religion, and even the space program. In Clay, Suzanne Staubach takes a lively look at the startling history of the mud beneath our feet. Told with verve and erudition, this story will ensure you won’t see the world around you in quite the same way after reading the book.
Over the centuries, natural history museums have evolved from being little more than musty repositories of stuffed animals and pinned bugs, to being crucial generators of new scientific knowledge. They have also become vibrant educational centers, full of engaging exhibits that share those discoveries with students and an enthusiastic general public.
At the heart of it all from the very start have been curators. Yet after three decades as a natural history curator, Lance Grande found that he still had to explain to people what he does. This book is the answer—and, oh, what an answer it is: lively, exciting, up-to-date, it offers a portrait of curators and their research like none we’ve seen, one that conveys the intellectual excitement and the educational and social value of curation. Grande uses the personal story of his own career—most of it spent at Chicago’s storied Field Museum—to structure his account as he explores the value of research and collections, the importance of public engagement, changing ecological and ethical considerations, and the impact of rapidly improving technology. Throughout, we are guided by Grande’s keen sense of mission, of a job where the why is always as important as the what.
This beautifully written and richly illustrated book is a clear-eyed but loving account of natural history museums, their curators, and their ever-expanding roles in the twenty-first century.
Michael R. Jeffords and Susan L. Post have circled the globe--and explored their neighborhood--collecting images of the natural world. This book opens their personal cabinet of curiosities to tell the stories of the pair's most unusual encounters. From the "necking" battles of mate-hungry giraffes to the breathtaking beauty of millions of monarch butterflies at rest, Jeffords and Post share 200 stunning photographs and their own insightful essays to guide readers on a spectacular journey. Their training as entomologists offers unique perspectives on surprise stag beetle swarms and spider hunting habits. Their photographic eye, honed by decades of observation, finds expression in once-in-a-lifetime images. The result is an eyewitness collection of startling and unusual phenomena that illuminates the diverse life inhabiting our planet.
Behold the cormorant: silent, still, cruciform, and brooding; flashing, soaring, quick as a snake. Evolution has crafted the only creature on Earth that can migrate the length of a continent, dive and hunt deep underwater, perch comfortably on a branch or a wire, walk on land, climb up cliff faces, feed on thousands of different species, and live beside both fresh and salt water in a vast global range of temperatures and altitudes, often in close proximity to man. Long a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and evil, the cormorant has led a troubled existence in human history, myth, and literature. The birds have been prized as a source of mineral wealth in Peru, hunted to extinction in the Arctic, trained by the Japanese to catch fish, demonized by Milton in Paradise Lost, and reviled, despised, and exterminated by sport and commercial fishermen from Israel to Indianapolis, Toronto to Tierra del Fuego. In The Devil’s Cormorant, Richard King takes us back in time and around the world to show us the history, nature, ecology, and economy of the world’s most misunderstood waterfowl.
This is a study of the material life of information and its devices; of electronic waste in its physical and electronic incarnations; a cultural and material mapping of the spaces where electronics in the form of both hardware and information accumulate, break down, or are stowed away. Electronic waste occurs not just in the form of discarded computers but also as a scatter of information devices, software, and systems that are rendered obsolete and fail. Where other studies have addressed "digital" technology through a focus on its immateriality or virtual qualities, Gabrys traces the material, spatial, cultural, and political infrastructures that enable the emergence and dissolution of these technologies. In the course of her book, she explores five interrelated "spaces" where electronics fall apart: from Silicon Valley to Nasdaq, from containers bound for China to museums and archives that preserve obsolete electronics as cultural artifacts, to the landfill as material repository. All together, these sites stack up into a sedimentary record that forms the "natural history" of this study.
Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics describes the materiality of electronics from a unique perspective, examining the multiple forms of waste that electronics create as evidence of the resources, labor, and imaginaries that are bundled into these machines. By drawing on the material analysis developed by Walter Benjamin, this natural history method allows for an inquiry into electronics that focuses neither on technological progression nor on great inventors but rather considers the ways in which electronic technologies fail and decay. Ranging across studies of media and technology, as well as environments, geography, and design, Jennifer Gabrys pulls together the far-reaching material and cultural processes that enable the making and breaking of these technologies.
Jennifer Gabrys is Senior Lecturer in Design and Convener of the Masters in Design and Environment in the Department of Design, Goldsmiths, University of London.
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.
What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of waffles, of course, but these staples of breakfast bounty also share an evolutionary function: eggs, seeds (from which we derive flour by grinding), and milk have each evolved to nourish offspring. Indeed, ponder the genesis of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll soon realize that everything we eat and drink has an evolutionary history. In Dinner with Darwin, join Jonathan Silvertown for a multicourse meal of evolutionary gastronomy, a tantalizing tour of human taste that helps us to understand the origins of our diets and the foods that have been central to them for millennia—from spices to spirits.
A delectable concoction of coevolution and cookery, gut microbiomes and microherbs, and both the chicken and its egg, Dinner with Darwin reveals that our shopping lists, recipe cards, and restaurant menus don’t just contain the ingredients for culinary delight. They also tell a fascinating story about natural selection and its influence on our plates—and palates. Digging deeper, Silvertown’s repast includes entrées into GMOs and hybrids, and looks at the science of our sensory interactions with foods and cooking—the sights, aromas, and tastes we experience in our kitchens and dining rooms. As is the wont of any true chef, Silvertown packs his menu with eclectic components, dishing on everything from Charles Darwin’s intestinal maladies to taste bud anatomy and turducken.
Our evolutionary relationship with food and drink stretches from the days of cooking cave dwellers to contemporary crêperies and beyond, and Dinner with Darwin serves up scintillating insight into the entire, awesome span. This feast of soup, science, and human society is one to savor. With a wit as dry as a fine pinot noir and a cache of evolutionary knowledge as vast as the most discerning connoisseur’s wine cellar, Silvertown whets our appetites—and leaves us hungry for more.
"Charlotte Porter offers vivid details on the physical and professional trials of field naturalists, handicapped by lack of access to libraries and collections and held in deep disdain by the eastern savants, who more and more scorned their publications, rejected their species-splitting taxonomy, excluded them from the review process, and relegated them to the status of hirelings. Porter draws a poignant picture of the treatment thus accorded Titian Peale and flawed genius Constantine Rafinesque."—Journal of American History
"Vividly reflect the considerable enthusiasm with which early 19th century American naturalists attempted to develop the natural sciences….This work is of considerable interest and contains a useful panoramic account of the fresh perspectives that early American practitioners brought to the natural sciences."—History of Biology
“When Benjamin Silliman, a 22-year-old lawyer completely unschooled in the sciences, was appointed to the first professorship of natural science at Yale University, he immediately set off for Philadelphia. To Silliman in 1802, Philadelphia ‘presented more advantage to science than any other place in our country.’ Soon thereafter William Maclure, ‘father’ of American geology and an early president of the Academy of Natural Sciences, became the dominant figure within Philadelphia's considerable population of naturalists. The Philadelphia circle justly serves as a focus for The Eagle's Nest: Natural History and American Ideas, 1812-1842, Charlotte M. Porter's study of early American forays into natural history.”—New York Times Review of Books
This unique book celebrates and documents the incredible and colorful biodiversity of the mountain landscapes of eastern North America, covering all of the major alpine ecosystems in New England, New York, Québec, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Twenty scientists, explorers, naturalists, and land managers from the United States and Canada have collaborated to create this definitive and beautiful account of the flora and fauna of the eastern alpine tundra.
Like nearly every area of scholarly inquiry today, the biological sciences are broken into increasingly narrow fields and subfields, its practitioners divided into ecologists, evolutionary biologists, taxonomists, paleontologists, and much more. But all these splintered pieces have their origins in the larger field of natural history—and in this era where climate change and relentless population growth are irrevocably altering the world around us, perhaps it’s time to step back and take a new, fresh look at the larger picture.
The Essential Naturalist offers exactly that: a wide-ranging, eclectic collection of writings from more than eight centuries of observations of the natural world, from Leeuwenhoek to E. O. Wilson, from von Humboldt to Rachel Carson. Featuring commentaries by practicing scientists that offer personal accounts of the importance of the long tradition of natural history writing to their current research, the volume serves simultaneously as an overview of the field’s long history and as an inspirational starting point for new explorations, for trained scientists and amateur enthusiasts alike.
Naturalists and recreational anglers will welcome the paperback edition of this comprehensive volume, first published in 1986, which describes every species in the lakes and streams of the Great Basin. Includes an updated checklist of established species, discussion of threatened and endangered species, glossary, bibliography, and index.
Between the surface of the sea and depths of two hundred meters lies a remarkable range of fish, generally known as pelagics, or open-ocean dwellers. These creatures are among the largest, fastest, highest-leaping, and most migratory fish on the entire planet. Beautifully adapted to their world, they range from tiny drift fish and plankton-straining whale sharks to more streamlined predators such as tuna, marlin, sailfish, and wahoo.
Fishes of the Open Ocean, from leadingmarine biologistand world authorityon the subject JulianPepperell, is the firstbook to comprehensivelydescribe thesefishes and explore thecomplex and oftenfragile world in whichthey live. In whatwill be the definitivebook on the subject for years to come—and, with over three hundredcolor images, the most lavishly produced as well—Pepperell details theenvironment and biology of every major species of fish that inhabitsthe open ocean, an expanse that covers 330 million cubic miles and isthe largest aquatic habitat on the Earth. The first section of the bookintroduces the various evolutionary forms these fish have taken, as wellas the ways in which specific species interact and coevolve withothers in the food web. A chapter on commercial andsport fisheries explores the human element in thisrealm and considers such issues as sustainability,catch-and-release initiatives, and the risks of extinction.
The second section of the book provides species accounts of open ocean dwellers organized by group, with overviews and general descriptions that are inclusive of range and distribution, unique physiological and morphological attributes, and the role of each species within its ecosystem. Global distribution maps, original illustrations from renowned artist and scientist Guy Harvey, and truly stunning images from some of the world’s leading underwater photographers round out this copiously illustrated volume.
Forgotten Grasslands of the South is a literary and scientific case study of some of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. Eminent ecologist Reed Noss tells the story of how southern grasslands arose and persisted over time and addresses questions that are fundamental for conserving these vital yet poorly understood ecosystems.
The author examines:
the natural history of southern grasslands
their origin and history (geologic, vegetation, and human)
biological hotspots and endangered ecosystems
physical determinants of grassland distribution, including ecology, soils, landform, and hydrology fire, herbivores, and ecological interactions.
The final chapter presents a general conservation strategy for southern grasslands, including prioritization, protection, restoration, and management. Also included are examples of ongoing restoration projects, along with a prognosis for the future.
In addition to offering fascinating new information about these little-studied ecosystems, Noss demonstrates how natural history is central to the practice of conservation. Natural history has been on a declining trajectory for decades, as theory and experimentation have dominated the field of ecology. Ecologists are coming to realize that these divergent approaches are in fact complementary, and that pursuing them together can bring greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works and how we can best conserve it.
Forgotten Grasslands of the South explores the overarching importance of ecological processes in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and is the first book of its kind to apply natural history, in a modern, comprehensive sense, to the conservation of biodiversity across a broad region. It sets a new standard for scientific literature and is essential reading not only for those who study and work to conserve the grasslands of the South but also for everyone who is fascinated by the natural world.
Just east of the Missouri River in Iowa and northeastern Missouri, an angular band of rugged, prairie-topped and woodland-cloaked hills spans the otherwise uneventful skyline. These are the Loess Hills, recognized throughout the United States for their distinctive natural features. With clarity and thoroughness, Fragile Giants gives us a complete natural history of this area, including three auto tours and a comprehensive listing of public-use areas and educational programs.
In October 2014, a group of mathematicians, physicists, ecologists, philosophers, and theologians gathered at a special conference in Berkeley, California to present the results of a two-year research program dubbed “Project SATURN”. This program explored many of the rich avenues of thought found at the intersection of modern science and Christian theology. Chief among them is the possibility that certain processes in nature might be so complex that they do not have sufficient physical causes. Known as “ontological indeterminism”, this idea has profound implications for theology. Specifically, it allows God to be thought of as acting providentially within nature without violating the laws and processes of nature.
Such a momentous insight could influence how we understand free will, natural evil, suffering in nature, and the relation between divine providence and human evolution. The essays collected here discuss each of these topics and were originally presented at the 2014 conference. Part I establishes the scientific basis for conceptualizing certain process in the universe as inherently random and possibly indeterministic. Part II discusses the philosophical and theological issues that spring from this understanding. Together they represent the cutting edge of thought in the increasingly productive dialogue between science and theology.
Short for the “Scientific and Theological Understandings of Randomness in Nature”, Project SATURN was created by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, a Program of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. It was funded with a grant administered by Calvin College and provided by the John Templeton Foundation.
An essential book for all bird and wildlife buffs visiting the Grand Canyon. —Wildlife Book Review
"Will benefit all amateur naturalists because of its survey of the life zone patterns in [the] southwestern United States." —Science Books & Films
"The subtitle accurately reflects the contents of this excellent book on the birds of a unique natural wonder and national treasure. . . . An annotated checklist discusses the status and abundance of each of the over 300 species of birds known to have occurred in the Grand Canyon region, which is defined here as the river between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead and the contiguous plateaus to the north and south." —Journal of Arizona History
In 2003, Bill Sargent bought a big pink house in Ipswich, Massachusetts. His home sits on what is known as the Great Marsh, a fascinating patch of wetland shared by Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Sargent received a grant to study some of the rare and endangered ground-nesting birds that inhabit the public land adjacent to his property. Ipswich Marsh is about these birds, but much else as well. Organized by the seasons of the year, The House on Ipswich Marsh features Sargent’s trademark interplay of information about the natural world, ecology, and politics. In “Spring,” the reader learns about the geological history of the Marsh; the migration patterns of bobolinks; the courtship flights of woodcocks; ticks and Lyme disease; the mating of horseshoe crabs and the underwater arrival of zooplankton, fish eggs, and moon jellyfish. “Summer” introduces plate tectonics and glaciers; sea level rise and glacial rebound; diving at night among lobsters and stone crabs; a day on Crane’s Beach; and a bike trip on Argilla Road. “Autumn” illuminates fishing; the natural and cultural history of Hog Island; harvest time on Appelton Farm; and a Native American Thanksgiving. “Winter” describes the formation of dunes and sandbars; the mating behavior of seals; coyote hunting deer at night; and a late-winter blizzard in which Sargent spies a red-tailed hawk, waiting, like the author, for the return of spring.
"This is nature writing at its best." —E.O. Wilson
"Eloquent treatise...Landis's book is as much call to action as paean to mesmerizing molluscs." —Nature
"Rich, accurate, and moving." —New Scientist
"A lyrical love letter to the imperiled freshwater mussel." —Science
Abbie Gascho Landis first fell for freshwater mussels while submerged in an Alabama creek, her pregnant belly squeezed into a wetsuit. After an hour of fruitless scanning, a mussel materialized from the rocks—a little spectaclecase, herself pregnant, filtering the river water through a delicate body while her gills bulged with offspring. In that moment of connection, Landis became a mussel groupie, obsessed with learning more about the creatures’ hidden lives. She isn’t the only fanatic; the shy mollusks, so vital to the health of rivers around the world, have a way of inspiring unusual devotion.
In Immersion, Landis brings readers to a hotbed of mussel diversity, the American Southeast, to seek mussels where they eat, procreate, and, too often, perish. Accompanied often by her husband, a mussel scientist, and her young children, she learned to see mussels on the creekbed, to tell a spectaclecase from a pigtoe, and to worry what vanishing mussels—70 percent of North American species are imperiled—will mean for humans and wildlife alike. In Immersion, Landis shares this journey, traveling from perilous river surveys to dry streambeds and into laboratories where endangered mussels are raised one precious life at a time.
Mussels have much to teach us about the health of our watersheds if we step into the creek and take a closer look at their lives. In the tradition of writers like Terry Tempest Williams and Sy Montgomery, Landis gracefully chronicles these untold stories with a veterinarian’s careful eye and the curiosity of a naturalist. In turns joyful and sobering, Immersion is an invitation to see rivers from a mussel’s perspective, a celebration of the wild lives visible to those who learn to search.
Bed bugs. Few words strike such fear in the minds of travelers. In cities around the world, lurking beneath the plush blankets of otherwise pristine-looking hotel beds are tiny bloodthirsty beasts just waiting for weary wanderers to surrender to a vulnerable slumber. Though bed bugs today have infested the globe, the common bed bug is not a new pest at all. Indeed, as Brooke Borel reveals in this unusual history, this most-reviled species may date back over 250,000 years, wreaking havoc on our collective psyche while even inspiring art, literature, and music—in addition to vexatious red welts.
In Infested, Borel introduces readers to the biological and cultural histories of these amazingly adaptive insects, and the myriad ways in which humans have responded to them. She travels to meet with scientists who are rearing bed bug colonies—even by feeding them with their own blood (ouch!)—and to the stages of musicals performed in honor of the pests. She explores the history of bed bugs and their apparent disappearance in the 1950s after the introduction of DDT, charting how current infestations have flourished in direct response to human chemical use as well as the ease of global travel. She also introduces us to the economics of bed bug infestations, from hotels to homes to office buildings, and the expansive industry that has arisen to combat them.
Hiding during the day in the nooks and seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, wallpaper, or any clutter around a bed, bed bugs are thriving and eager for their next victim. By providing fascinating details on bed bug science and behavior as well as a captivating look into the lives of those devoted to researching or eradicating them, Infested is sure to inspire at least a nibble of respect for these tenacious creatures—while also ensuring that you will peek beneath the sheets with prickly apprehension.
Jellyfish: A Natural History
Lisa-ann Gershwin University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress QL377.S4G46 2016 | Dewey Decimal 593.53
Jellyfish, with their undulating umbrella-shaped bells and sprawling tentacles, are as fascinating and beautiful as they are frightening and dangerous. They are found in every ocean at every depth, and they are the oldest multi-organed life form on the planet, having inhabited the ocean for more than five hundred million years. In many places they are also vastly increasing in number, and these population blooms may be an ominous indicator of the rising temperatures and toxicity of the world’s oceans.
Jellyfish presents these aquarium favorites in all their extraordinary and captivating beauty. Fifty unique species, from stalked jellyfish to black sea nettles, are presented in stunning color photographs along with the most current scientific information on their anatomy, history, distribution, position in the water, and environmental status. Foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin provides an insightful look at the natural history and biology of each of these spellbinding creatures, while offering a timely take on their place in the rapidly changing and deteriorating condition of the oceans. Readers will learn about immortal jellyfish who live and die and live again as well as those who camouflage themselves amid sea grasses and shells, hiding in plain sight.
Approachably written and based in the latest science and ecology, this colorful book provides an authoritative guide to these ethereal marine wonders.
The first in-depth ecological treatment of one of the most frequently visited National Battlefield parks in the country
Designated as a National Battlefield in 1917 and as a park in 1935, the 2,965-acre Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park now preserves far more than the military history and fallen soldiers it was originally founded to commemorate. Located approximately 20 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, Kennesaw Mountain rises 608 feet above the rolling hills and hardwood forests of the Georgia Piedmont. Kennesaw Mountain’s geology and topography create enough of a distinctive ecosystem to make it a haven for flora and fauna alike. As the tallest mountain in the metropolitan Atlanta area, it is also a magnet for human visitors. Featuring 18 miles of interpretive trails looping around and over the mountain, the park is a popular destination for history buffs, outdoor recreationists, and nature enthusiasts alike.
Written for a diverse range of readers and park visitors, Kennesaw: Natural History of a Southern Mountain provides a comprehensive exploration of the entire park punctuated with humor, colorful anecdotes, and striking photographs of the landscape. Sean P. Graham begins with a brief summary of the park’s human history before transitioning to a discussion of the mountain’s natural history, including its unique geology, vegetation, animals, and plant-animal interactions. Graham also focuses on Kennesaw Mountain’s most important ecological and conservation attribute—its status as a globally important migratory bird refuge. An insightful chapter on bird watching and the region’s migrating bird populations includes details on migratory patterns, birding hot spots, and the mountain’s significance as one of these important areas. An epilogue revisits the battle by describing how Union veterans pushed for establishment of the park as a memorial, inadvertently creating a priceless biological preserve in the process.
Kennesaw: Natural History of a Southern Mountain addresses the complex interactions and behaviors of numerous species that live or migrate through the park, yet it is written in a personal, lively, and entertaining style that will appeal to all readers. In many cases the book synthesizes information from the scientific literature, making this otherwise arcane material accessible to the general public and underscoring—and hopefully increasing public appreciation for—the high biodiversity of life found in the Southeast.
La Selva, a nature reserve and field station in Costa Rica, is one of
the most intensively studied and best-understood tropical field sites
in the world. For over thirty years, La Selva has been a major focus
of research on rainforest ecology, flora, and fauna. This volume
provides the first comprehensive review of this research, covering La
Selva's geographical history and physical setting, its plant and
animal life, and agricultural development and land use.
Drawing together a wealth of information never before available in a
single volume, La Selva offers a substantive treatment of the
ecology of a rainforest. Part 1 summarizes research on the physical
setting and environment of the rainforest, as well as the history of
the research station. Some chapters in this part focus on climate,
geomorphology, and aquatic systems, while others look at soils,
nutrient acquisition, and cycles of energy.
Part 2 synthesizes what is known about the plant community. It begins
with chapters on vegetation types and plant diversity, and also
explores plant demography, spatial patterns of trees, and the impact
of treefall gaps on forest structure and dynamics. Other chapters
address plant physiological ecology, as well as plant reproductive
Part 3 covers the animal community, summarizing information on the six
best-known animal taxa of the region: fishes, amphibians, reptiles,
birds, mammals, and butterflies. This part includes an overview of
faunal studies at La Selva and a chapter on animal population biology,
which examines animal demography and abundance, and interactions
between predators and prey. Part 4 addresses interactions between
plants and animals and the effects of these interactions on species
Part 5 considers the impact of land use and agricultural development
on La Selva and other areas of Costa Rica. One chapter examines land
colonization and conservation in Sarapiqui, another covers subsistence
and commercial agricultural development in the Atlantic lowlands
region, and a third looks at the forest industry in northeastern Costa
Rica. This part also assesses the role and research priorities of La
La Selva provides an introduction to tropical ecology for
students and researchers at La Selva, a major source of comparative
information for biologists working in other tropical areas, and a
valuable resource for conservationists.
This book is a comprehensive guide to the natural history of the North Slope, the only arctic tundra in the United States. The first section provides detailed information on climate, geology, landforms, and ecology. The second provides a guide to the identification and natural history of the common animals and plants and a primer on the human prehistory of the region from the Pleistocene through the mid-twentieth century. The appendix provides the framework for a tour of the natural history features along the Dalton Highway, a road connecting the crest of the Brooks Range with Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean, and includes mile markers where travelers may safely pull off to view geologic formations, plants, birds, mammals, and fish. Featuring hundreds of illustrations that support the clear, authoritative text, Landof Extremes reveals the arctic tundra as an ecosystem teeming with life.
The Devil’s Highway—El Camino del Diablo—crosses hundreds of miles and thousands of years of Arizona and Southwest history. This heritage trail follows a torturous route along the U.S. Mexico border through a lonely landscape of cactus, desert flats, drifting sand dunes, ancient lava flows, and searing summer heat. The most famous waterhole along the way is Tinajas Altas, or High Tanks, a series of natural rock basins that are among the few reliable sources of water in this notoriously parched region.
Now an expert cast of authors describes, narrates, and explains the human and natural history of this special place in a thorough and readable account. Addressing the latest archaeological and historical findings, they reveal why Tinajas Altas was so important and how it related to other waterholes in the arid borderlands. Readers can feel like pioneers, following in the footsteps of early Native Americans, Spanish priests and soldiers, gold seekers and borderland explorers, tourists, and scholars.
Combining authoritative writing with a rich array of more than 180 illustrations and maps as well as detailed appendixes providing up-to-date information on the wildlife and plants that live in the area, Last Water on the Devil’s Highway allows readers to uncover the secrets of this fascinating place, revealing why it still attracts intrepid tourists and campers today.
This new and improved edition of Letters from Alabama offers a valuable window into pioneer Alabama and the landscape and life-forms encountered by early settlers of the state.
Philip Henry Gosse (1810–1888), a British naturalist, left home at age seventeen and made his way to Alabama in 1838. He was employed by Judge Reuben Saffold and other planters near Pleasant Hill in Dallas County as a teacher for about a dozen of their children, but his principal interest was natural history. Letters from Alabama is a personalized record of Gosse’s perceptive observations during his eight-month residence in this small antebellum community. The work addresses a Victorian readership, including entomologists, who Gosse believed were relatively uninformed about the novelty and beauty of this “hilly region of the State of Alabama.” Written in an engaging literary style and organized as a series of epistolary discussions, the book is unparalleled in its detailed evocations of the natural history and cultural conditions of frontier Alabama. By the time Letters from Alabama appeared in 1859, Gosse’s scientific publications and fine illustrations had led to his being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
Edited by Gary R. Mullen and Taylor D. Littleton, this authoritative edition features thirty grayscale lithographs shot directly from the 1859 edition, reset type for easier reading, a new introduction and index by the two foremost scholars of Gosse in Alabama, a new appendix that provides modern scientific and common names for the plant and animal species described by Gosse, and a four-color cover featuring one of the plates from Gosse’s Entomologia Alabamensis.
When Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, eighty million acres were flagged as possible national park land. Field expeditions were tasked with recording what was contained in these vast acres. Under this decree, five men were sent into the sprawling, roadless interior of Alaska, unsure of what they’d encounter and ultimately responsible for the fate of four thousand pristine acres. Life and Times of a Big River follows Peter J. Marchand and his team of biologists as they set out to explore the land that would ultimately become the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Their encounters with strange plants, rare insects, and little-known mammals bring to life a land once thought to be static and monotonous. And their struggles to navigate and adapt to an unforgiving environment capture the rigorous demands of remote field work. Weaving in and out of Marchand's narrative is an account of the natural and cultural history of the area as it relates to the expedition and the region’s Native peoples. Life and Times of a Big River chorincles this riveting, one-of-a-kind journey of uncertainty and discovery from a disparate (and at one point desperate) group of biologists.
This stunning photographic essay opens a new frontier for readers to explore through words and images. Microbial studies have clarified life’s origins on Earth, explained the functioning of ecosystems, and improved both crop yields and human health. Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter are expert guides to an invisible world waiting in plain sight.
Rich with archival detail and compelling characters, Life on Display uses the history of biological exhibitions to analyze museums’ shifting roles in twentieth-century American science and society. Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. Cain chronicle profound changes in these exhibitions—and the institutions that housed them—between 1910 and 1990, ultimately offering new perspectives on the history of museums, science, and science education.
Rader and Cain explain why science and natural history museums began to welcome new audiences between the 1900s and the 1920s and chronicle the turmoil that resulted from the introduction of new kinds of biological displays. They describe how these displays of life changed dramatically once again in the 1930s and 1940s, as museums negotiated changing, often conflicting interests of scientists, educators, and visitors. The authors then reveal how museum staffs, facing intense public and scientific scrutiny, experimented with wildly different definitions of life science and life science education from the 1950s through the 1980s. The book concludes with a discussion of the influence that corporate sponsorship and blockbuster economics wielded over science and natural history museums in the century’s last decades.
A vivid, entertaining study of the ways science and natural history museums shaped and were shaped by understandings of science and public education in the twentieth-century United States, Life on Display will appeal to historians, sociologists, and ethnographers of American science and culture, as well as museum practitioners and general readers.
Few phenomena inspire more awe than lightning. Streaking across the sky, it daunts us with its power and amazes us with its beauty. In Lightning, Derek M. Elsom explores this natural phenomenon and traces the long history of our study of it. From early civilizations’ assumptions that it was the work of gods, through eighteenth-century scientific analyses (and, yes, Ben Franklin’s kite), Elsom tells about our efforts to understand and explain lightning. He explores the many surprising folklore beliefs about lightning protection and contrasts these with today's scientific approaches. Alongside scientific explorations, he also tracks the path of lightning through our culture, from myths and legends to art and design. In addition, Elsom offers handy tips for avoiding getting struck by lightning.
Beautifully illustrated with stunning photographs and artistic renderings, this striking book will appeal equally to weather buffs and folklorists, scientists and artists.
A Yale-educated Renaissance man, S. Dillon Ripley was a “courtly, determined, hugely ambitious, energetic, funny, and colorful ornithologist, conservationist, and cultural standard-bearer” who led the Smithsonian Institution for twenty years, during its greatest period of growth. During his watch, from 1964 to 1984, the SI added eight new museums and seven new research centers and began publication of the Smithsonian magazine. It was Ripley’s vision that transformed “the nation’s attic” from a dusty archive to a vibrant educational and cultural institution, just as he had transformed Yale’s Peabody museum before it. Prior to his career at the SI, and running parallel with it for the rest of his life, was Ripley’s work as an ornithologist, begun in New Guinea in the 1930s, continued through his PhD from Harvard in 1943, and culminating in his landmark thirty-year project documenting the bird life of India. His lifelong passion for ornithology led him to positions of leadership in worldwide nature conservation. In the midst of these endeavors he was recruited in 1944 to the Office of Strategic Services, a Yalie club at the outset that became the forerunner of the modern CIA. Posted to Ceylon, he recruited and ran agents who reported from and infiltrated Japanese-held Southeast Asia. Roger D. Stone worked with Ripley on the board of the World Wildlife Fund. He has access to the Ripley family’s archives and photos, as well as to the voluminous archives at the Smithsonian and the National Archives, and to over forty hours of transcribed interviews, conducted with Ripley at the Smithsonian.
Among the rarest things on earth, meteorites carry an air of mystery and drama while having left a pervasive, outsized mark on our planet and civilization. In Meteorite, Maria Golia tells the long history of our engagement with these sky-born space rocks. Arriving amid thunderous blasts and flame-streaked skies, meteorites were once thought to be messengers from the gods. Worshipped in the past, now scrutinized with equal zeal by scientists, meteorites helped sculpt Earth’s features and have shaped our understanding of the planet’s origins. Prized for their outlandish qualities, meteorites are a collectible and a commodity, objects of art and artists’ desires and a literary muse; and ‘meteorite hunting’ is an adventurous, lucrative profession for some and an addictive hobby for thousands of others.
A richly illustrated, remarkably wide-ranging account of the culture and science surrounding meteorites, Golia’s book explores the ancient, lasting power of the meteorite to inspire and awe.
In the years after the Revolutionary War, the fledgling republic of America was viewed by many Europeans as a degenerate backwater, populated by subspecies weak and feeble. Chief among these naysayers was the French Count and world-renowned naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who wrote that the flora and fauna of America (humans included) were inferior to European specimens.
Thomas Jefferson—author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. president, and ardent naturalist—spent years countering the French conception of American degeneracy. His Notes on Virginia systematically and scientifically dismantled Buffon’s case through a series of tables and equally compelling writing on the nature of his home state. But the book did little to counter the arrogance of the French and hardly satisfied Jefferson’s quest to demonstrate that his young nation was every bit the equal of a well-established Europe. Enter the giant moose.
The American moose, which Jefferson claimed was so enormous a European reindeer could walk under it, became the cornerstone of his defense. Convinced that the sight of such a magnificent beast would cause Buffon to revise his claims, Jefferson had the remains of a seven-foot ungulate shipped first class from New Hampshire to Paris. Unfortunately, Buffon died before he could make any revisions to his Histoire Naturelle, but the legend of the moose makes for a fascinating tale about Jefferson’s passion to prove that American nature deserved prestige.
In Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose, Lee Alan Dugatkin vividly recreates the origin and evolution of the debates about natural history in America and, in so doing, returns the prize moose to its rightful place in American history.
Michael Tomasello offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on experimental data comparing great apes and human children, he reconstructs two key evolutionary steps whereby early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species capable of acting as a plural agent “we”.
Tool-making or culture, language or religious belief: ever since Darwin, thinkers have struggled to identify what fundamentally differentiates human beings from other animals. Michael Tomasello weaves his twenty years of comparative studies of humans and great apes into a compelling argument that cooperative social interaction is the key to our cognitive uniqueness.
Tomasello maintains that our prehuman ancestors, like today's great apes, were social beings who could solve problems by thinking. But they were almost entirely competitive, aiming only at their individual goals. As ecological changes forced them into more cooperative living arrangements, early humans had to coordinate their actions and communicate their thoughts with collaborative partners. Tomasello's "shared intentionality hypothesis" captures how these more socially complex forms of life led to more conceptually complex forms of thinking. In order to survive, humans had to learn to see the world from multiple social perspectives, to draw socially recursive inferences, and to monitor their own thinking via the normative standards of the group. Even language and culture arose from the preexisting need to work together and coordinate thoughts. A Natural History of Human Thinking is the most detailed scientific analysis to date of the connection between human sociality and cognition.
Inbreeding, the mating of close kin, and outbreeding, the mating of distant relatives or unrelated organisms, have long been important subjects to evolutionary biologists. Inbreeding reduces genetic diversity in a population, increasing the likelihood that genetic defects will become widespread and deprive a population of the diversity it may need to cope with its environment. Most plants and animals have evolved behavioral and morphological mechanisms to avoid inbreeding. However, today many endangered species exist only in small, very isolated populations where inbreeding is unavoidable, so it has become a concern for conservationists. In this volume, twenty-six experts in evolution, behavior, and genetics examine the causes and consequences of inbreeding.
The authors ask whether inbreeding is as problematic as biologists have thought, under what ecological conditions inbreeding occurs, and whether organisms that inbreed have mechanisms to dampen the anticipated problems of reduced genetic variation. The studies, including theoretical and empirical work on wild and captive populations, demonstrate that many plants and animals inbreed to a greater extent than biologists have thought, with variable effects on individual fitness. Graduate students and researchers in evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, and conservation biology will welcome this wide-ranging collection.
First published in 1961, The Natural History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first work to discuss in detail the contributions to America's natural history made by the Corps of Discovery (1804-1806), or the Lewis and Clark Expedition, as it is popularly known. Raymond Darwin Burroughs tallied the quantity of game killed and consumed during the course of the expedition.
This paperback edition of Burroughs' work contains the entire original text, as well as a new introduction by Lewis and Clark scholar Robert Carriker. The major contribution of The Natural History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was to organize and catalog the disparate discussions of animal and plant life that are scattered throughout the original journals by expedition members. These observations are presented in the explorers' words along with Burroughs's expert commentary.
The Natural History of Madagascar
Edited by Steven M. Goodman and Jonathan P. Benstead University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress QH195.M2N38 2003 | Dewey Decimal 508.691
Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemurs—a primate group found only here—to the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a previously unknown species in Madagascar—and at almost the same rate another natural area of habitat is degraded or destroyed, a combination that recently led conservation organizations to name Madagascar one of the most important and threatened conservation priorities on the planet.
The Natural History of Madagascar provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island nation's priceless biological treasures. Contributions by nearly three hundred world-renowned experts cover the history of scientific exploration in Madagascar, its geology and soils, climate, forest ecology, human ecology, marine and coastal ecosystems, plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Detailed discussions of conservation efforts in Madagascar highlight several successful park reserve programs that could serve as models for other areas. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations, with fifty color photos by nature photographer Harald Schütz, as well as more than three hundred black-and-white photographs and line drawings.
The Natural History of Madagascar will be the invaluable reference for anyone interested in the Malagasy environment, from biologists and conservationists to policymakers and ecotourists.
A Natural History of Nature Writing is a penetrating overview of the origins and development of a uniquely American literature. Essayist and poet Frank Stewart describes in rich and compelling prose the lives and works of the most prominent American nature writers of the19th and 20th centuries, including:
Henry D. Thoreau, the father of American nature writing.
John Burroughs, a schoolteacher and failed businessman who found his calling as a writer and elevated the nature essay to a loved and respected literary form.
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club, who celebrated the wilderness of the Far West as few before him had.
Aldo Leopold, a Forest Service employee and scholar who extended our moral responsibility to include all animals and plants.
Rachel Carson, a scientist who raised the consciousness of the nation by revealing the catastrophic effects of human intervention on the Earth's living systems.
Edward Abbey, an outspoken activist who charted the boundaries of ecological responsibility and pushed these boundaries to political extremes.
Stewart highlights the controversies ignited by the powerful and eloquent prose of these and other writers with their expansive – and often strongly political – points of view. Combining a deeply-felt sense of wonder at the beauty surrounding us with a rare ability to capture and explain the meaning of that beauty, nature writers have had a profound effect on American culture and politics. A Natural History of Nature Writing is an insightful examination of an important body of American literature.
This book offers a unique synthesis of past and current work on the structure, meaning, and use of negation and negative expressions, a topic that has engaged thinkers from Aristotle and the Buddha to Freud and Chomsky. Horn's masterful study melds a review of scholarship in philosophy, psychology, and linguistics with original research, providing a full picture of negation in natural language and thought; this new edition adds a comprehensive preface and bibliography, surveying research since the book's original publication.
Central Appalachia is the system of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain found in western and southwestern Virginia, eastern and central West Virginia, western Maryland, and a portion of south central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Through its concise and accessible approach, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America.
With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians also discusses the past, present, and future influences of human activity upon this geographic area.
In A Natural History of the Chicago Region, Joel Greenberg takes readers on a journey that begins in 1673 with Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet—the first Europeans known to have visited the Chicago region—and that we're still on today. This is a fascinating story, told with humor and passion, of forests battling prairies for dominance; of grasslands plowed, wetlands drained, and species driven to extinction in the settlement of the Midwest; and of caring conservationists fighting to preserve and restore the native plants and animals. Intermingling historical anecdotes and episodes straight from the words of early settlers and naturalists with current scientific information, Greenberg places the natural history of the region in a human context, showing how it affects our everyday existence in even the most urbanized landscape of Chicago.
The remote Colorado Plateau and Great Basin portions of the Intermountain West are areas of spectacular natural beauty and diversity. Due to inaccessibility, however, scientific study of many aspects of the region's natural history has lagged.
Natural History of the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin provides an up-to-date summary of the region's geology, climates, and biology, including thorough treatments of the area's insects, fish, and reptiles. Also discussed are the ecology and distribution of prehistoric human cultures in the region; how modern humans have used (and abused) resources in the Intermountain West; and the impact of post-Pleistocene environmental changes on genetics of disjunct populations of conifer trees.
Written by a diverse group of acknowledged experts, Natural History of the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin offers invaluable background information for all students and resource managers who want to work in or visit the Intermountain West.
The Mojave Desert has a rich natural history. Despite being sandwiched between the larger Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts, it has enough mountains, valleys, canyons, and playas for any eager explorer. Ancient and current waterways carve the bajadas and valley bottoms. This diverse topography gives rise to a multitude of habitats for plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.
A Natural History of the Mojave Desert explores how a combination of complex geology, varied geography, and changing climate has given rise to intriguing flora and fauna—including almost 3,000 plant species and about 380 terrestrial vertebrate animal species. Of these, one quarter of the plants and one sixth of the animals are endemic.
The authors, who, combined, have spent more than six decades living in and observing the Mojave Desert, offer a scientifically insightful and personally observed understanding of the desert. They invite readers to understand how the Mojave Desert looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells. They prompt us to understand how humans have lived in this desert where scant vegetation and water have challenged humans, past and present.
A Natural History of the Mojave Desert provides a lively and informed guide to understanding how life has adapted to the hidden riverbeds, huge salt flats, tiny wetlands, and windswept hills that characterize this iconic desert.
The paleoecological history of the Americas is as complex as the region is broad: stretching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, the New World features some of the most extraordinary vegetation on the planet. But until now it has lacked a complete natural history. Alan Graham remedies that with A Natural History of the New World. With plants as his scientific muse, Graham traces the evolution of ecosystems, beginning in the Late Cretaceous period (about 100 million years ago) and ending in the present, charting their responses to changes in geology and climate.
By highlighting plant communities’ roles in the environmental history of the Americas, Graham offers an overdue balance to natural histories that focus exclusively on animals. Plants are important in evolution’s splendid drama. Not only are they conspicuous and conveniently stationary components of the Earth’s ecosystems, but their extensive fossil record allows for a thorough reconstruction of the planet’s paleoenvironments. What’s more, plants provide oxygen, function as food and fuel, and provide habitat and shelter; in short, theirs is a history that can speak to many other areas of evolution.
A Natural History of the New World is an ambitious and unprecedented synthesis written by one of the world’s leading scholars of botany and geology.
A Natural History of Time
Pascal Richet University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress QE508.R5413 2007 | Dewey Decimal 551.701
The quest to pinpoint the age of the Earth is nearly as old as humanity itself. For most of history, people trusted mythology or religion to provide the answer, even though nature abounds with clues to the past of the Earth and the stars. In A Natural History of Time, geophysicist Pascal Richet tells the fascinating story of how scientists and philosophers examined those clues and from them built a chronological scale that has made it possible to reconstruct the history of nature itself.
Richet begins his story with mythological traditions, which were heavily influenced by the seasons and almost uniformly viewed time cyclically. The linear history promulgated by Judaism, with its story of creation, was an exception, and it was that tradition that drove early Christian attempts to date the Earth. For instance, in 169 CE, the bishop of Antioch, for instance declared that the world had been in existence for “5,698 years and the odd months and days.”
Until the mid-eighteenth century, such natural timescales derived from biblical chronologies prevailed, but, Richet demonstrates, with the Scientific Revolution geological and astronomical evidence for much longer timescales began to accumulate. Fossils and the developing science of geology provided compelling evidence for periods of millions and millions of years—a scale that even scientists had difficulty grasping. By the end of the twentieth century, new tools such as radiometric dating had demonstrated that the solar system is four and a half billion years old, and the universe itself about twice that, though controversial questions remain.
The quest for time is a story of ingenuity and determination, and like a geologist, Pascal Richet carefully peels back the strata of that history, giving us a chance to marvel at each layer and truly appreciate how far our knowledge—and our planet—have come.
Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa is the jewel of the Iowa Great Lakes. A region of wetlands formed by prairie potholes, the area is rich with lakes, sloughs, fens, creeks, prairies, and kettleholes. In this readable and beautifully illustrated volume, Michael Lannoo presents an extensive natural history of Okoboji and its cherished wetlands that examines that world of our grandparents, compares it to today's world, and extrapolates to the world of our grandchildren.
The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself.
Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life.
"I have great faith in a seed," Thoreau wrote. "Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Written with a scientist’s knowledge and a gardener’s delight, An Orchard Invisible offers those wonders in a package that will be irresistible to science buffs and green thumbs alike.
From blackbirds and orioles to meadowlarks, grackles, and cowbirds, the variety and variation shown by members of the family Icteridae is legend. The family exhibits great diversity in size and coloration, mating and nest building, and habits and habitats. This group of 94 New World species once known as the troupials is well represented in backyards across America; yet most icterids are tropical or semi-tropical species that remain largely unstudied.
The least known of these species are perhaps best known to Alexander Skutch, who has studied birds in a Costa Rican tropical valley for more than half a century. In this fascinating book the first devoted exclusively to the icterids—he combines his own observations with those of other naturalists to provide a comparative natural history and biology of this remarkable family of birds. Devoting a separate chapter to each major group or genus, he delineates the outstanding characteristics of each and includes observations of little-studied tropical species such as caciques and oropendolas.
Orioles, Blackbirds, and Their Kin is an eminently readable natural history in the classic style. Enhanced by 31 scratchboard illustrations, this book will delight nature enthusiasts everywhere with its fascinating exposition of avian diversity. Because so much of the published information on the icterids is widely scattered, Skutch's painstaking compilation has created a valuable reference work that will provide students and researchers with a wealth of new insights into the tropical members of this New World family.
2018 Reading the West Book Awards Nonfiction Winner
Have you ever wondered about society’s desire to cultivate the perfect lawn, why we view some animals as “good” and some as “bad,” or even thought about the bits of nature inside everyday items–toothbrushes, cell phones, and coffee mugs? In this fresh and introspective collection of essays, Julia Corbett examines nature in our lives with all of its ironies and contradictions by seamlessly integrating personal narratives with morsels of highly digestible science and research. Each story delves into an overlooked aspect of our relationship with nature—insects, garbage, backyards, noise, open doors, animals, and language—and how we cover our tracks.
With a keen sense of irony and humor and an awareness of the miraculous in the mundane, Julia recognizes the contradictions of contemporary life. She confronts the owner of a high-end market who insists on keeping his doors open in all temperatures. Takes us on a trip to a new mall with a replica of a trout stream that once flowed nearby. The phrase “out of the woods” guides us through layers of meaning to a contemplation of grief, remembrance, and resilience.
Out of the Woods leads to surprising insights into the products, practices, and phrases we take for granted in our everyday encounters with nature and encourages us all to consider how we might re-value or reimagine our relationships with nature in our everyday lives.
Winner of the 2000 American Studies Network Prize and the Literature and Language Award from the Association of American Publishers, Inc.
Early American naturalists assembled dazzling collections of native flora and fauna, from John Bartram’s botanical garden in Philadelphia and the artful display of animals in Charles Willson Peale’s museum to P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, infamously characterized by Henry James as “halls of humbug.” Yet physical collections were only one of the myriad ways that these naturalists captured, catalogued, and commemorated America’s rich biodiversity. They also turned to writing and art, from John Edward Holbrook’s forays into the fascinating world of herpetology to John James Audubon’s masterful portraits of American birds.
In this groundbreaking, now classic book, Christoph Irmscher argues that early American natural historians developed a distinctly poetic sensibility that allowed them to imagine themselves as part of, and not apart from, their environment. He also demonstrates what happens to such inclusiveness in the hands of Harvard scientist-turned Amazonian explorer Louis Agassiz, whose racist pseudoscience appalled his student William James.
This expanded, full-color edition of The Poetics of Natural History features a preface and art from award-winning artist Rosamond Purcell and invites the reader to be fully immersed in an era when the boundaries between literature, art, and science became fluid.
The Poetics of Natural History is about the “daydreams” of early American naturalists (from 1730 to 1868) and the collections they created around these dreams. Christoph Irmscher explores how, through the acts of organizing physical artifacts and reflecting upon their collections through writings and images, naturalists from John Bartram to Louis Agassiz were making sense of themselves and their world. These collections allowed them, in a way, to collect themselves.
In the first part of his book, Irmscher offers us a guided tour of the actual collections, beginning in Bartram’s disorderly botanical garden in Philadelphia and taking us through the artful display of animals in Charles Wilson Peale’s collections and, finally, to the “halls of humbug” of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum. The second part of the book moves away from the collections, and explores natural history words and images. Irmscher unforgettably describes American collectors’ fascination and horror with the American rattlesnake, and invokes the violent and beautiful world of American birds as described in John James Audubon’s paintings and writings. His book ends with a description of Louis Agassiz’s 1865 expedition to Brazil as seen through the eyes of the young William James, who reluctantly gathered Brazilian fish while his mentor assembled “proof” that some human beings were less human than others.
A provocative new way to read and interpret the classic works of John Muir, Mary Austin, and Gary Snyder, and to bring their ideas into the discussion of ecological values and the current environmental crisis. Lewis combines a perceptive discussion of their work and ideas with an engaging account of his own trail experiences as hiker/backpacker and volunteer trail builder, proposing that such a field-based, interdisciplinary approach to literary study and outdoors experience can enrich our appreciation for the work of nature writers.
How did Europeans three centuries apart respond to two mysterious beasts—a living rhinoceros previously known only from ancient texts and a nameless monster’s massive bones? Juan Pimentel shows that their reactions reflect deep cultural changes but also the enduring power of image and imagination to shape our understanding of the natural world.
"An engaging botanical overview of flowers."-New York Times Book Review
In The Rose's Kiss, Peter Bernhardt presents a fascinating and wide-ranging look at the natural history of flowers—how they look, what they do, and their often hidden interactions with the surrounding environment and other living organisms upon which they depend for their survival. You'll discover why flowers are so colorful, how they evolved, and how insects exploit them for their nectar. This is a book for all flower lovers, from naturalists and gardeners to poets and botanists.
Flowers bring joy and beauty to our lives, from the smallest patch of daisies outside our window to the elaborate floral decorations on display at weddings, banquets, and funerals. As well as offering aesthetic benefits, they teach us much about how the world works -- each blossom is a living factory that manufactures organs and compounds ranging from the flavonoids that make a rose red to the pollen that gives us hayfever.In The Rose's Kiss, botanist Peter Bernhardt rekindles our sense of wonder at the plant life all around us. He presents a fascinating and wide ranging look at the natural history of flowers -- their forms and functions as well as their hidden interactions with the surrounding environment and the other living organisms they depend upon for survival. Using both familiar and exotic examples, he examines: flower architecture, including the wonderfully descriptive names of floral parts and their respective roles in a plant's life-cycle the secret exchange between a bud and its environment that determines blooming time and the lifespan of individual blossoms colors, scents, and other mechanisms that plants use to attract pollinators and keep them returning season after season the incredible diversity of organisms that pollinate plants -- cockroaches, flies, moths, parrots, hummingbirds, bats, and others extinct plants and their fossil blossoms, showing the evolution of flowering plants over the past 125 million years and much moreDelightfully interwoven with intriguing facts and stories from history, folklore, and mythology, The Rose's Kiss is a wonderful example of literary science writing at its best. It should hold wide appeal for nature lovers, garden enthusiasts, and anyone interested in learning more about the inner workings of the natural world.
The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History
David Yetman, Alberto Búrquez, Kevin Hultine, and Michael Sanderson, with FrankS. Crosswhite University of Arizona Press, 2020 Library of Congress QK495.C11Y485 2020
The saguaro, with its great size and characteristic shape—its arms stretching heavenward, its silhouette often resembling a human—has become the emblem of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The largest and tallest cactus in the United States, it is both familiar and an object of fascination and curiosity.
This book offers a complete natural history of this enduring and iconic desert plant. Gathering everything from the saguaro’s role in Sonoran Desert ecology to its adaptations to the desert climate and its sacred place in Indigenous culture, this book shares precolonial through current scientific findings.
The saguaro is charismatic and readily accessible but also decidedly different from other desert flora. The essays in this book bear witness to our ongoing fascination with the great cactus and the plant’s unusual characteristics, covering the saguaro’s: history of discovery, place in the cactus family, ecology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, and ethnobotany. The Saguaro Cactus offers testimony to the cactus’s prominence as a symbol, the perceptions it inspires, its role in human society, and its importance in desert ecology.
The sardine is a paradoxical fish. Seemingly insignificant, it has made fortunes for some, and, when stocks have collapsed, caused hardship for many, its status shifting from utilitarian food to gourmand’s delight. And in this book, Trevor Day—diver, fish-watcher, and marine conservationist—travels across four continents to meet the sardine in both its natural and cultural environment. Tracing the fish’s journey from minuscule egg to dinner plate, Day interweaves the story of the sardine with the rise and fall of entire fisheries.
A wide-ranging look at the cluster of fish species called sardines, Day’s book explores their relationship both with other marine creatures and with us. Elite predators feast on sardines, yet these silvery slivers are fast-breeding and opportunistic enough to likely survive their hunters for many millennia to come. Whether swimming free as a shoaling fish at the mercy of predators, packed in tins (and as a metaphor for overcrowding), or grilled on the streets of Lisbon as part of the Feast of St. Anthony, sardines have come to represent conformity, vulnerability, and tradition. And as Day’s biography of this familiar but under-appreciated fish reveals, the sardine is a barometer for the health of our oceans, a fish with lessons for us all about our stewardship of the seas.
Out of the diverse traditions of medical humanism, classical philology, and natural philosophy, Renaissance naturalists created a new science devoted to discovering and describing plants and animals. Drawing on published natural histories, manuscript correspondence, garden plans, travelogues, watercolors, and drawings, The Science of Describing reconstructs the evolution of this discipline of description through four generations of naturalists.
In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, naturalists focused on understanding ancient and medieval descriptions of the natural world, but by the mid-sixteenth century naturalists turned toward distinguishing and cataloguing new plant and animal species. To do so, they developed new techniques of observing and recording, created botanical gardens and herbaria, and exchanged correspondence and specimens within an international community. By the early seventeenth century, naturalists began the daunting task of sorting through the wealth of information they had accumulated, putting a new emphasis on taxonomy and classification.
Illustrated with woodcuts, engravings, and photographs, The Science of Describing is the first broad interpretation of Renaissance natural history in more than a generation and will appeal widely to an interdisciplinary audience.
The fortunes of the late nineteenth century’s imperial and industrial powers depended on a single raw material—rubber—with only one source: the Amazon basin. And so began the scramble for the Amazon—a decades-long conflict that found Britain, France, Belgium, and the United States fighting with and against the new nations of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil for the forest’s riches. In the midst of this struggle, Euclides da Cunha, engineer, journalist, geographer, political theorist, and one of Brazil’s most celebrated writers, led a survey expedition to the farthest reaches of the river, among the world’s most valuable, dangerous, and little-known landscapes.
The Scramble for the Amazon tells the story of da Cunha’s terrifying journey, the unfinished novel born from it, and the global strife that formed the backdrop for both. Haunted by his broken marriage, da Cunha trekked through a beautiful region thrown into chaos by guerrilla warfare, starving migrants, and native slavery. All the while, he worked on his masterpiece, a nationalist synthesis of geography, philosophy, biology, and journalism he named the Lost Paradise. Da Cunha intended his epic to unveil the Amazon’s explorers, spies, natives, and brutal geopolitics, but, as Susanna B. Hecht recounts, he never completed it—his wife’s lover shot him dead upon his return.
At once the biography of an extraordinary writer, a masterly chronicle of the social, political, and environmental history of the Amazon, and a superb translation of the remaining pieces of da Cunha’s project, The Scramble for the Amazon is a work of thrilling intellectual ambition.
Seeds: A Natural History
Carolyn Fry University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress QK661.F79 2016 | Dewey Decimal 581.467
From the magnificence of a towering redwood to the simple elegance of a tiny dandelion, seed-bearing plants abound on planet Earth. The sheer diversity of plants thriving today is largely thanks to the evolution of the seed, as this made plants resilient to environmental changes by enabling them to await optimum conditions for growth before springing to life. In a time of declining biodiversity, studying seeds is now helping scientists preserve this plant diversity for future generations.
With Seeds, Carolyn Fry offers a celebration of these vital but unassuming packages of life. She begins with a sweeping tour through human history, designed to help us understand why we should appreciate and respect these floral parcels. Wheat, corn, and rice, she reminds us, supply the foundations of meals eaten by people around the world. Countless medicines, oils, clothing materials, and building supplies are available only because of the versatility and variety of seed-bearing plants. Fry then provides a comprehensive history of the evolution of seeds, explaining the myriad ways that they have adapted, survived, and thrived across the globe. Delving deeper into the science of seeds, she reveals the fascinating processes of dormancy, reproduction, germination, and dispersal, and showcases the estimable work conservationists are doing today to gather and bank seeds in order to prevent species from going extinct.
Enriched by a stunning array of full-color images, Seeds offers a comprehensive exploration of some of the most enduring and essential players in the natural world.
Mozingo presents the life histories of more than sixty species of both common and unusual shrubs, and discusses how shrubs grow, reproduce, and adapt to the extreme weather conditions that are part of daily life in the Great Basin. Drawings by Christine Stetter.
One of the most recognizable animals of the Southwest, the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) makes its home in both the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts, as well as in tropical areas to the south in Mexico. Called by Tohono O'odham people "komik'c-ed," or "shell with living thing inside," it is one of the few desert creatures kept as a domestic pet—as well as one of the most studied reptiles in the world. Most of our knowledge of desert tortoises comes from studies of Mohave Desert populations in California and Nevada. However, the ecology, physiology, and behavior of these northern populations are quite different from those of their southern, Sonoran Desert, and tropical cousins, which have been studied much less. Differences in climate and habitat have shaped the evolution of three races of desert tortoises as they have adapted to changes in heat, rainfall, and sources of food and shelter as the deserts developed in the last ten million years.
This book presents the first comprehensive summary of the natural history, biology, and conservation of the Sonoran and Sinaloan desert tortoises, reviewing the current state of knowledge of these creatures with appropriate comparisons to Mohave tortoises. It condenses a vast amount of information on population ecology, activity, and behavior based on decades of studying tortoise populations in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and also includes important material on the care and protection of tortoises. Thirty-two contributors address such topics as tortoise fossil records, DNA analysis, and the mystery of secretive hatchlings and juveniles. Tortoise health is discussed in chapters on the care of captives, and original data are presented on the diets of wild and captive tortoises, the nutrient content of plant foods, and blood parameters of healthy tortoises. Coverage of conservation issues includes husbandry methods for captive tortoises, an overview of protective measures, and an evaluation of threats to tortoises from introduced grass and wildfires. A final chapter on cultural knowledge presents stories and songs from indigenous peoples and explores their understanding of tortoises.
As the only comprehensive book on the desert tortoise, this volume gathers a vast amount of information for scientists, veterinarians, and resource managers while also remaining useful to general readers who keep desert tortoises as backyard pets. It will stand as an enduring reference on this endearing creature for years to come.
A holistic approach to analyzing distinct grassland habitats that integrates ecological, historical, and archaeological data
Today the southeastern United States is a largely rural, forested, and agricultural landscape interspersed with urban areas of development. However, two centuries ago it contained hundreds of thousands of acres of natural grasslands that stretched from Florida to Texas. Now more than 99 percent of these prairies, glades, and savannas have been plowed up or paved over, lost to agriculture, urban growth, and cattle ranching. The few remaining grassland sites are complex ecosystems, home to hundreds of distinct plant and animal species, and worthy of study.
Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management brings together the latest research on southeastern prairie systems and species, provides a complete picture of an increasingly rare biome, and offers solutions to many conservation biology queries. Editors JoVonn G. Hill and John A. Barone have gathered renowned experts in their fields from across the region who address questions related to the diversity, ecology, and management of southeastern grasslands, along with discussions of how to restore sites that have been damaged by human activity.
Over the last twenty years, both researchers and the public have become more interested in the grasslands of the Southeast. This volume builds on the growing knowledge base of these remarkable ecosystems with the goal of increasing appreciation for them and stimulating further study of their biota and ecology. Topics such as the historical distribution of grasslands in the South, the plants and animals that inhabit them, as well as assessments of several techniques used in their conservation and management are covered in-depth. Written with a broad audience in mind, this book will serve as a valuable introduction and reference for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and land managers.
In this second edition of their classic text, Klyza and Trombulak use the lens of interconnectedness to examine the geological, ecological, and cultural forces that came together to produce contemporary Vermont. They assess the changing landscape and its inhabitants from its pre-human evolution up to the present, with special focus on forests, open terrestrial habitats, and the aquatic environment. This edition features a new chapter covering from 1995 to 2013 and a thoroughly revised chapter on the futures of Vermont, which include discussions of Tropical Storm Irene, climate change, eco-regional planning, and the resurgence of interest in local food and energy production. Integrating key themes of ecological change into a historical narrative, this book imparts specific information about Vermont, speculates on its future, and fosters an appreciation of the complex synergy of forces that shaped this region. This volume will interest scholars, students, and Vermonters intrigued by the state’s long-term natural and human history.
Lake Superior has been known by many names through the centuries, from Kitchi Gami to le lac superieur, but the lake itself remains the same expansive and inspiring body of water. Here, Thomas F. Waters explores the natural and human history of the Superior basin.
From the trout and salmon swimming in its icy depths to the red and white pines towering overhead, Lake Superior has an ancient past. As Waters depicts the geology of the region, he traces the development of the rugged shoreline from Duluth to Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie. The Superior North Shore also vividly describes the human history lived out in this sometimes harsh, always spectacular natural setting, from the earliest Native Americans to the voyageurs to the modern fishing industry.
Charmingly illustrated by Carol Yonker Waters, this volume conveys to the reader an intimacy with the legends of Lake Superior, as well as a sense of the grandeur behind this unique and vital ecological system.
"Waters's vivid prose transports you from the volcanic origins of the Superior Basin, to the Ojibwe Kitchi Gami (the "great lake"), to the wild, daunting days of exploration and exploitation of the area's natural resources, primarily fur and fish." Imprint
"Thomas F. Waters gives a detailed account of the region's land and waters, resources, and human settlement. His description of the series of frontiers--the fishermen's frontier, the mining frontier, the lumbering frontier, and the development of recreation--admirably combines human and natural history." Journal of Forest History
Thomas F. Waters is a professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota. He is also the author of Streams and Rivers of Minnesota (1998).
In 1989, a book written by Martin E. Nicoll and Olivier Langrand was published on the protected areas of Madagascar, which heralded in a new era of conservation for this island nation. In the subsequent three decades, there was an important increase in inventories and studies on Madagascar’s terrestrial biota. This work led to significant changes in the systematics of Malagasy plants and animals, a large percentage unique to the island, and a notable augmentation in knowledge on Malagasy biodiversity. In addition, the considerable expansion of the protected area network, reinforcement of legal tools, and the development of new management modes and tools have contributed to a modernization of the protected area network.
The purpose of these bilingual, French-English books is to present a large-scale update of information available from 98 terrestrial protected areas, various analyses to understand general trends in the conservation of these sites, and a synthesis to assess the needs for future scientific programs. Beautifully illustrated throughout with color maps, graphs, and photos, these three volumes will be an important reference for students, researchers, protected area managers, conservationists, and visiting ecotourists.
“The American people sees itself advance across the wilderness, draining swamps, straightening rivers, peopling the solitude, and subduing nature,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835. That’s largely how we still think of nineteenth-century America today: a country expanding unstoppably, bending the continent’s natural bounty to the national will, heedless of consequence. A country of slavery and of Indian wars. There’s much truth in that vision.
But if you know where to look, you can uncover a different history, one of vibrant resistance, one that’s been mostly forgotten. This Radical Land recovers that story. Daegan Miller is our guide on a beautifully written, revelatory trip across the continent during which we encounter radical thinkers, settlers, and artists who grounded their ideas of freedom, justice, and progress in the very landscapes around them, even as the runaway engine of capitalism sought to steamroll everything in its path. Here we meet Thoreau, the expert surveyor, drawing anticapitalist property maps. We visit a black antislavery community in the Adirondack wilderness of upstate New York. We discover how seemingly commercial photographs of the transcontinental railroad secretly sent subversive messages, and how a band of utopian anarchists among California’s sequoias imagined a greener, freer future. At every turn, everyday radicals looked to landscape for the language of their dissent—drawing crucial early links between the environment and social justice, links we’re still struggling to strengthen today.
Working in a tradition that stretches from Thoreau to Rebecca Solnit, Miller offers nothing less than a new way of seeing the American past—and of understanding what it can offer us for the present . . . and the future.
Anyone who works with the vascular plants of Iowa—researchers, conservationists, teachers, agricultural specialists, horticulturists, gardeners, and so on—and those who are simply interested in knowing more about the state's plants have long felt a need for a comprehensive flora of Iowa. This meticulously researched volume is a giant first step toward such a flora.
This book consists of an extended essay on the natural history of the vascular plants of Iowa, a discussion of their origins, a description of the state's natural regions, and a painstakingly annotated checklist of Iowa vascular plants. The data, which apply to over 150 years, took more than 15 years to collect.
All known vascular plants that grow and persist in Iowa without cultivation are included in the checklist. These are native plants, primarily, but a large number of introduced species have become established throughout the state. Also included are Iowa's major crop plants and some of its common garden plants. The lengthy checklist provides an accurate and up-to-date listing of species names and common names, synonyms, distribution, habitat, abundance, and origin; county names are given for very rare species, and the most complete information has been provided for all rare plants and troublesome species.
The wealth of information is this well-organized, practical volume—which describes more than two thousand species from Adiantum pedatum, the northern maidenhair fern of moist woods and rocky slopes, to Zannichellia palustris, the horned pondweed of shallow marshes and coldwater streams—makes it possible to identify Iowa plants correctly. All midwesterners will want to own a copy of The Vascular Plants of Iowa.
Bottled water is a part of everyday life for millions of Americans. Per capita consumption in the United States now tops fifteen gallons per year with sales over $5 billion in 2002. Even as fuel prices climb, many people are still willing to pay more for a gallon of bottled water than they are for the equivalent in gasoline. At the same time, bottled water has become a symbol of refined taste and a healthy lifestyle. But despite its growing popularity, many people cannot quite put their finger on just why they prefer bottled water to the much less expensive tap variety. Some have a vague notion that bottled water is "healthier," some prefer the convenience and more consistent taste, and others are simply content to follow the trend. The fact is most people know very little about the natural beverage that they drink and enjoy. It is reasonable to wonder, therefore, just what differentiates bottled water from other water? Is it really better or healthier than tap water? Why is it that different brands seem to have subtle variations in taste?
As Francis H. Chapelle reveals in this delightful and informative volume, a complex story of geology, hydrology, and history lies behind every bottle of spring water. The book chronicles the history of the bottled water industry in America from its beginnings in Europe hundreds of years ago to the present day. Subsequent chapters describe the chemical characteristics that make some waters desirable, and provide an overview of the geologic circumstances that produce them. Wellsprings explains how these geologic conditions vary throughout the country, and how this affects the kinds and quality of bottled water that are available. Finally, Chapelle shows how the bottled water industry uses this natural history, together with the perceived health benefits of spring waters, to market their products.
Accessibly written and well illustrated, Wellsprings is both a revealing account and a user’s guide to natural spring waters. Regardless of your drinking preference, this timely exploration will make your next drink of water refreshingly informed.
How long should a leaf live? When should blueberries ripen? And what should a clever moose eat? Questions like these may seem simple or downright strange—yet they form the backbone of natural history, a discipline that fostered some of our most important scientific theories, from natural selection to glaciation. Through careful, patient observations of the organisms that live in an area, their distributions, and how they interact with other species, we gain a more complete picture of the world around us, and our place in it.
In What Should a Clever Moose Eat?, John Pastor explores the natural history of the North Woods, an immense and complex forest that stretches from the western shore of Lake Superior to the far coast of Newfoundland. The North Woods is one of the most ecologically and geologically interesting places on the planet, with a host of natural history questions arising from each spruce or sugar maple. From the geological history of the region to the shapes of leaves and the relationship between aspens, caterpillars, and predators, Pastor delves into a captivating range of topics as diverse as the North Woods themselves. Through his meticulous observations of the natural world, scientists and nonscientists alike learn to ask natural history questions and form their own theories, gaining a greater understanding of and love for the North Woods—and other natural places precious to them.
In the tradition of Charles Darwin and Henry David Thoreau, John Pastor is a joyful observer of nature who makes sharp connections and moves deftly from observation to theory. Take a walk in John Pastor's North Woods—you'll come away with a new appreciation for details, for the game trails, beaver ponds, and patterns of growth around you, and won't look at the natural world in the same way again.
Hit the trail for a dramatic look at Wisconsin’s geologic past.
The impressive bluffs, valleys, waterfalls, and lakes of Wisconsin’s state parks provide more than beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities. They are windows into the distant past, offering clues to the dramatic events that have shaped the land over billions of years.
Author and former DNR journalist Scott Spoolman takes readers with him to twenty-eight parks, forests, and natural areas where evidence of the state’s striking geologic and natural history are on display. In an accessible storytelling style, Spoolman sheds light on the volcanoes that poured deep layers of lava rock over a vast area in the northwest, the glacial masses that flattened and molded the landscape of northern and eastern Wisconsin, mountain ranges that rose up and wore away over hundreds of millions of years, and many other bedrock-shaping phenomena. These stories connect geologic processes to the current landscape, as well as to the evolution of flora and fauna and development of human settlement and activities, for a deeper understanding of our state’s natural history.
The book includes a selection of detailed trail guides for each park, which hikers can take with them on the trail to view evidence of Wisconsin’s geologic and natural history for themselves.
The interactions between apex predators and their prey are some of the most awesome and meaningful in nature—displays of strength, endurance, and a deep coevolutionary history. And there is perhaps no apex predator more impressive and important in its hunting—or more infamous, more misjudged—than the wolf. Because of wolves’ habitat, speed, and general success at evading humans, researchers have faced great obstacles in studying their natural hunting behaviors. The first book to focus explicitly on wolf hunting of wild prey, Wolves on the Hunt seeks to fill these gaps in our knowledge and understanding.
Combining behavioral data, thousands of hours of original field observations, research in the literature, a wealth of illustrations, and—in the e-book edition and online—video segments from cinematographer Robert K. Landis, the authors create a compelling and complex picture of these hunters. The wolf is indeed an adept killer, able to take down prey much larger than itself. While adapted to hunt primarily hoofed animals, a wolf—or especially a pack of wolves—can kill individuals of just about any species. But even as wolves help drive the underlying rhythms of the ecosystems they inhabit, their evolutionary prowess comes at a cost: wolves spend one-third of their time hunting—the most time consuming of all wolf activities—and success at the hunt only comes through traveling long distances, persisting in the face of regular failure, detecting and taking advantage of deficiencies in the physical condition of individual prey, and through ceaseless trial and error, all while risking injury or death.
By describing and analyzing the behaviors wolves use to hunt and kill various wild prey—including deer, moose, caribou, elk, Dall sheep, mountain goats, bison, musk oxen, arctic hares, beavers, and others—Wolves on the Hunt provides a revelatory portrait of one of nature’s greatest hunters.
Yellowstone Wildlife is a natural history of the wildlife species that call Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem their home. Illustrated with stunning images by renowned wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, Yellowstone Wildlife describes the lives of species in the park, exploring their habitats from the Grand Tetons to Jackson Hole.
From charismatic megafauna like elk, bison, wolves, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears, to smaller mammals like bats, pikas, beavers, and otters, to some of the 279 species of birds, Johnsgard describes the behavior of animals throughout the seasons, with sections on what summer and autumn mean to the wildlife of the park, especially with the intrusion of millions of tourists each year. Enhanced by Mangelsen’s wildlife photography, Yellowstone Wildlife reveals the beauty and complexity of these species’ intertwined lives and that of Yellowstone’s greater ecosystem.