Tropical Ecology begins with a historical overview followed by a sweeping discussion of biogeography and evolution, and then introduces students to the unique and complex structure of tropical rain forests. Other topics include the processes that influence everything from species richness to rates of photosynthesis: how global climate change may affect rain forest characteristics and function; how fragmentation of ecosystems affects species richness and ecological processes; human ecology in the tropics; biodiversity; and conservation of tropical ecosystems and species.
Drawing on real-world examples taken from actual research, Tropical Ecology is the best textbook on the subject for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
The Balance of Nature traces the fascinating history of the science of ecology and evolutionary biology, from the discipline's early innovators to the advent of Darwin and evolution, to the brilliant and inquisitive scientific minds of today. Blending insights and entertaining stories from his own remarkable life in science, Kricher reveals how evolution is a powerful engine that drives ecological change, how nature is constantly in flux and, in effect, quite naturally out of balance--and how notions to the contrary are misguided and ultimately hazardous to us all.
The Balance of Nature forcefully argues that an understanding of the dynamic nature of ecology and evolution is essential to formulating policies of environmental ethics to guide humanity toward a more responsible stewardship of our planet's ecosystems.
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.
After giving an overview of the different kinds of ecosystems in the tropics, the author describes the structure, function, and evolution of tropical rain forests. Tropical trees are then discussed, as are the vast array of vines, orchids, bromeliads, and other plants that live among the branches of the forest giants. A chapter on the "tropical pharmacy" treats the many drugs present in tropical vegetation and the evolutionary influence of these drugs. The book surveys the great diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods of the neotropics and provides separate chapters on tropical savannas and on coastal ecosystems. An epilogue deals with the crucially important issues of the conservation of neotropical environments.
The New Neotropical Companion is the completely revised and expanded edition of a book that has helped thousands of people to understand the complex ecology and natural history of the most species-rich area on Earth, the American tropics. Featuring stunning color photos throughout, it is a sweeping and cutting-edge account of tropical ecology that includes not only tropical rain forests but also other ecosystems such as cloud forests, rivers, savannas, and mountains. This is the only guide to the American tropics that is all-inclusive, encompassing the entire region's ecology and the amazing relationships among species rather than focusing just on species identification.
The New Neotropical Companion is a book unlike any other. Here, you will learn how to recognize distinctive ecological patterns of rain forests and other habitats and to interpret how these remarkable ecosystems function—everything is explained in clear and engaging prose free of jargon. You will also be introduced to the region's astonishing plant and animal life.
Informative and entertaining, The New Neotropical Companion is a pleasurable escape for armchair naturalists, and visitors to the American tropics will want to refer to this book before, during, and after their trip.
Covers all of tropical AmericaDescribes the species and habitats most likely to be observed by visitorsIncludes every major ecosystem, from lowland rain forests to the high AndesFeatures a wealth of color photos of habitats, plants, and animals