Life on earth

At the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, the prob lems of immunity in lower vertebrates and the influence of environmental temperature attracted attention for the first time (ERNST, 1890; WIDAL and SICARD, 1897; METCHNIKOFF, 1901). However, relatively little work has been done on this subject until recently. The early investigators were chiefly in terested in the immuno-pathological problems. They immunized various species of lower vertebrates essentially with bacterial vaccines; agglutinating, neutralizing and protective antibodies were detected in their blood. The in fluence of environmental temperature on the immune response was investigated, since this subject represented great economical and theoretical importance. Epizootic diseases were observed to occur in relation to the cold season of the year, when the decrease or spontaneous increase of water temperature occurred (SCHAPERCLAUS, 1965; BESSE et al. , 1965; KLONTZ et al. , 1965 WOOD,1966). The immunological deficiency of fish, caused by their natural or experimental stay in cold water, is now evident for both humoral and cellular immunity. In this review we will focus on two points: We shall attempt (1) to explain the mechanism by which the environmental temperature influences the immune resistance of fish to pathogens, (2) to determine the chronological location of this temperature-sensitive stage in the process of antibody formation, and to make some approaches to the general antibody formation mechanism.

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Now the subject of an Emmy Award–winning film the New York Times calls "spellbinding"

How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon.

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated—there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar—there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet.

A bold and inspiring synthesis by one of our most accomplished biologists and gifted storytellers, The Serengeti Rules is the first book to illuminate how life works at vastly different scales. Read it and you will never look at the world the same way again.
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