It’s almost one month to Christmas, so here’s a service for those who order their books online: a compilation of interesting books you can get for yourself or for someone else (or get someone else to buy for you; speaking of which: if you wanna send me one of these books, I don’t mind!). There’ll be several posts to cover all the fields I’m interested in. Keep in mind that a lot of them are textbooks, not light reading.
This book will appeal to experts and students in histories of medicine, science, and imperialism as well as south Asian and Caribbean history.
The list contains only books released this year and last year, so current stuff. I copy-pasted the book blurb to help you in your choice. Links are to the first google result :)
Sorted alphabetically by author.
- Avise, Nicholson. 2011. Hermaphroditism: A Primer on the Biology, Ecology, and Evolution of Dual Sexuality.
While it is true that members of most sexually reproducing species can be defined as either male or female, those who belong to the rest of the biological world are not so simply understood. Hermaphroditic creatures reproduce both as male and as female individuals, providing a fascinating glimpse into alternative sexual practices in nature and their ecological and evolutionary successes and failures. Eloquently written by an award-winning biologist and pioneer in molecular ecology, this primer on hermaphroditism traces the phenomenon throughout Earth’s myriad species, accounting for the adaptive significance of alternative sexual systems. Accessible and richly illustrated, the text maps the evolutionary origins of hermaphroditism, as well as its historical instances and fictional representations, underscoring the relevance of dual sexuality to our biological, intellectual, and cultural making. John C. Avise describes the genetics, ecology, phylogeny, and natural history of hermaphroditic plants, fish, and invertebrate animals and details organisms that either reproduce simultaneously as male and female or switch routinely between one sex and the other. Filled with surprising creatures and compelling revelations, this textbook stands alone in its clear yet comprehensive treatment of hermaphroditism and its unique challenge to the supremacy of separate sexes.
- Beckage, Drezen. 2011. Parasitoid Viruses.
Parasitoids are parasitic insects that kill their insect hosts in immature pre-reproductive stages. Parasitoids are employed in biological control programs worldwide to kill insect pests and are environmentally safe and benign alternatives to chemical pesticides. As resistance to chemical pesticides continues to escalate in many pest populations, attention is now refocusing on biologically-based strategies to control pest species in agriculture and forestry as well as insect vector populations that transmit human and animal diseases. Parasitoids are an economically critical element in this equation and ‘integrated pest management.’ Viruses have evolved intimate associations with parasitoids, and this book features sections on both symbiotic viruses that are integrated into the wasp’s chromosomal DNA (polydnaviruses) that play critical roles in suppressing host immunity during parasitism. A separate section with additional chapters on viral pathogens that infect parasitoids to cause disease and act as detrimental agents that limit effectiveness of wasp species employed in biological control of pests is also featured. A third component is a section on parasitoid venoms, which are of interest to the pharmaceutical and medical communities as well as insect-oriented biologists.
- Douglas. 2010. The Symbiotic Habit.
Throughout the natural world, organisms have responded to predators, inadequate resources, or inclement conditions by forming ongoing mutually beneficial partnerships–or symbioses–with different species. Symbiosis is the foundation for major evolutionary events, such as the emergence of eukaryotes and plant eating among vertebrates, and is also a crucial factor in shaping many ecological communities. The Symbiotic Habit provides an accessible and authoritative introduction to symbiosis, describing how symbioses are established, function, and persist in evolutionary and ecological time. Angela Douglas explains the evolutionary origins and development of symbiosis, and illustrates the principles of symbiosis using a variety of examples of symbiotic relationships as well as nonsymbiotic ones, such as parasitic or fleeting mutualistic associations. Although the reciprocal exchange of benefit is the key feature of symbioses, the benefits are often costly to provide, causing conflict among the partners. Douglas shows how these conflicts can be managed by a single controlling organism that may selectively reward cooperative partners, control partner transmission, and employ recognition mechanisms that discriminate between beneficial and potentially harmful or ineffective partners.
- Fleming, Racey. 2010. Island Bats: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation.
The second largest order of mammals, Chiroptera comprises more than one thousand species of bats. Because of their mobility, bats are often the only native mammals on isolated oceanic islands, where more than half of all bat species live. These island bats represent an evolutionarily distinctive and ecologically significant part of the earth’s biological diversity. Island Bats is the first book to focus solely on the evolution, ecology, and conservation of bats living in the world’s island ecosystems. Among other topics, the contributors to this volume examine how the earth’s history has affected the evolution of island bats, investigate how bat populations are affected by volcanic eruptions and hurricanes, and explore the threat of extinction from human disturbance. Geographically diverse, the volume includes studies of the islands of the Caribbean, the Western Indian Ocean, Micronesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand. With its wealth of information from long-term studies, Island Bats provides timely and valuable information about how this fauna has evolved and how it can be conserved.
- Gupta. 2011. Chitin: Formation and Diagenesis.
There are several books on properties of chitin and associated biomolecules and their biochemical significance. However, the present volume deals with a wide variety of biogeochemical and organic geochemical aspects of this vital macromolecule written by leading authors and experts in the field. Each chapter is carefully peer reviewed and is an updated account of recent research in isotopic, nanostructural, biochemical, microstructural, geochemical, paleontological and experimental aspects of chitin formation, distribution and preservation in the environment and earth history.
- Hamilton. 2010. Super Species: The Creatures That Will Dominate the Planet.
Super species are the phenomenally successful invasive life-forms that are dominating ecosystems. These animals, plants and microbes have spread far from their native habitats, most often as a result of human activities. The key to super species’ success is their ability to adapt quickly. Super species may be unusually aggressive, difficult to kill, unfazed by the presence and activity of humans, capable of astonishingly rapid rates of growth and reproduction, exceptionally tolerant of pollution or, in many cases, all of the above! Author Garry Hamilton profiles the 20 super species that are having the greatest impact in our world today, including: Feral pigs– relentless boars that are trampling across Europe, North America and Australia; Bullfrogs — predatory amphibians that are endangering native frog populations; Jellyfish — spineless wonders that are dominating the world’s oceans; C. difficile — potentially deadly microbes that flourish in human intestines; Brown tree snakes — unusually vicious reptiles that have overrun Guam and are now infiltrating America; Argentine ants — aggressive insects capable of forming super-colonies spanning thousands of miles; Humboldt squid — gigantic beasts that hunt in packs of several hundreds. The author also examines the opposing views of top ecologists who are studying this global phenomenon. While some of these experts view invasive species as a threat to biodiversity that costs humans millions of dollars, others believe these creatures may simply be nature’s way of restoring ecological vibrancy in the wake of human-mediated destruction. Whether good or bad, the life-forms in Super Species are the current winners in nature’s ruthless process of natural selection.
- Holmes, Gunton, Barrington. 2010. Life: Extraordinary Animals, Extreme Behaviour.
Life, the spectacular companion volume to the new Discovery Channel/BBC series, tells a majestic and compelling story of survival and of the amazing behaviors animals and plants adopt to stay alive and pass their genes to a new generation. Beautifully written and illustrated with more than 300 high-definition color photographs, Life focuses on the most exciting examples of the millions of species to demonstrate the harrowing and very different challenges that all living things must overcome to prevail and to procreate. In 60 concise and captivating vignettes, intriguingly grouped in categories like Extraordinary Sea Creatures, Fabulous Fish, Irrepressible Plants, Hot-blooded Hunters, and Intellectual Primates, the authors provide the most up-to-date science. Each chapter parallels an episode of the television series, making the book a must-have addition to any interested viewer’s library. From the familiar to the rare–polar bears, Japanese snow macaques, monarch butterflies, and fish-catching bats, a mega-roost of 10 million fruit bats in Zambia, capuchin monkeys that use stone tools, marine life beneath and upon the ice of Antarctica, and tiny goby fish that climb Hawaiian waterfalls–this sumptuous volume brims with information and unforgettable images of the spectacular, the dangerous, and the bizarre.
- Kappeler. 2010. Animal Behaviour: Evolution and Mechanisms.
The study of animal behaviour is one of the fastest growing sub-disciplines in biology. The resulting diversity of conceptual approaches and methodological innovations makes it increasingly difficult for professionals and students to keep abreast of important new developments. This edited volume provides up-to-date reviews that facilitate orientation in key areas of animal behaviour, including communication, cognition, conflict, cooperation, sexual selection and behavioural variation. The contributions address evolutionary and proximate aspects of behaviour and also cover both invertebrates and vertebrates. Important concepts are dealt with in separate glossaries and key examples highlighted in separate text boxes. Richly illustrated with colour figures, this volume offers a well structured overview of all the main developments in current animal behaviour research. It is ideal for teaching upper-level courses, where it will be essential reading for advanced students familiar with basic concepts and ideas.
- Leonard, Cordoba-Aquilar. 2010. The Evolution of Primary Sexual Characters in Animals.
Primary sexual traits, those structures and processes directly involved in reproduction, are some of the most diverse, specialized, and bizarre in the animal kingdom. Moreover, reproductive traits are often species-specific, suggesting that they evolved very rapidly. This diversity, long the province of taxonomists, has recently attracted broader interest from evolutionary biologists, especially those interested in sexual selection and the evolution of reproductive strategies. Primary sexual characters were long assumed to be the product of natural selection, exclusively. A recent alternative suggests that sexual selection explains much of the diversity of “primary” sexual characters. A third approach to the evolution of reproductive interactions after copulation or insemination has been to consider the process one of sexual conflict. That is, the reproductive processes of a species may reflect, as does the mating system, evolution acting on males and on females, but in different directions. In this volume, authors explore a wide variety of primary sexual characters and selective pressures that have shaped them, from natural selection for offspring survival to species-isolating mechanisms, sperm competition, cryptic female choice and sexual arms races. Exploring diverse reproductive adaptations from a theoretical and practical perspective, The Evolution of Primary Sexual Characters will provide an unparalleled overview of sexual diversity in many taxa and an introduction to the issues in sexual selection that are changing our view of sexual processes.
- Losos, Greene. 2011. Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree: Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anoles.
Adaptive radiation, which results when a single ancestral species gives rise to many descendants, each adapted to a different part of the environment, is possibly the single most important source of biological diversity in the living world. One of the best-studied examples involves Caribbean Anolis lizards. With about 400 species, Anolis has played an important role in the development of ecological theory and has become a model system exemplifying the integration of ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral studies to understand evolutionary diversification. This major work, written by one of the best-known investigators of Anolis, reviews and synthesizes an immense literature. Jonathan B. Losos illustrates how different scientific approaches to the questions of adaptation and diversification can be integrated and examines evolutionary and ecological questions of interest to a broad range of biologists.
Why do female animals select certain mates, and how do scientists determine the answer? In considering these questions, Erika Lorraine Milam explores the fascinating patterns of experiment and interpretation that emerged as twentieth-century researchers studied sexual selection and female choice. Approaching the topic from both biological and animal-studies perspectives, Milam not only presents a broad history of sexual selection—from Darwin to sociobiology—but also analyzes the animal-human continuum from the perspectives of sex, evolution, and behavior. She asks how social and cultural assumptions influence human-animal research and wonders about the implications of gender on scientific outcomes. Although female choice appears to be a straightforward theoretical concept, the study of sexual selection has been anything but simple. Scientists in the early twentieth century investigated female choice in animals but did so with human social and sexual behavior as their ultimate objective. By the 1940s, evolutionary biologists and population geneticists shifted their focus, studying instead how evolution affected natural animal populations. Two decades later, organismal biologists once again redefined the investigation of sexual selection as sociobiology came to dominate the discipline.
- Milner-Gulland, Fryxell, Sinclair. 2011. Animal Migration: A Synthesis.
Despite the wealth of natural historical research conducted on migration over decades, there is still a dearth of hypothesis-driven studies that fully integrate theory and empirical analyses to understand the causes and consequences of migration, and a taxonomic bias towards birds in much migration research. This book takes a comparative, integrated view of animal migration, linking evolution with ecology and management, theory with empirical research, and embracing all the major migratory taxa (including human pastoralists). The scope extends beyond the target organism to consider the ecosystem-level dynamics of migration. The emphasis is on exciting new research avenues that are now opening up, whether due to advances in our understanding of migration as a biological phenomenon or through the availability of a range of new technologies. Broad themes that emerge include integrating migration into the broad spectrum of movement behaviour, the need for a comparative and cross-taxonomic approach that considers migration at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and examination of the key roles of resource uncertainty and spatial heterogeneity in driving migratory behaviour. The book identifies the potential for new tools to revolutionise the study of migration, including satellite-tracking technology, genomics, and modelling – all of which are linked to increasing computing power. We are now on the verge of a breakthrough in migration research, which is crucial given the multiple threats that face the conservation of migration as a phenomenon, including climate change.
When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten. With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses, Prager not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. And while these animals make for some jaw-dropping stories—witness the sea cucumber, which ejects its own intestines to confuse predators, or the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime—there’s far more to Prager’s account than her ever-entertaining anecdotes: again and again, she illustrates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research, and popular culture. Written with a diver’s love of the ocean, a novelist’s skill at storytelling, and a scientist’s deep knowledge, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime enchants as it educates, enthralling us with the wealth of life in the sea—and reminding us of the need to protect it.
- Ryan, Wilczinski. 2011. An Introduction to Animal Behavior: An Integrative Approach.
The study of animal behavior is one of the most integrative endeavors in biology—it encompasses how the behavior is acquired, how it works, why it has come to work as it does, and how it influences the behaving animal and the animals around it. In Animal Behavior: An Integrative Approach, Michael J. Ryan and Walter Wilczynski address the interrelationship of these aspects of animal behavior, which Nikolaas Tinbergen codified in his “four questions” as causation, ontogeny, survival value, and evolution. In light of these questions, the authors first review some of the basic concepts of ultimate and proximate aspects of behavior. They make the argument that integrating different levels of analysis is critical for deriving a correct interpretation of behavior. In subsequent chapters, they review topics such as foraging, orientation and migration, sex differences, mate choice, social bonding, cooperation, conflict, and aggression. The authors integrate information from molecular genomics through neuroscience, endocrinology, development, and learning to evolutionary genetics, selection, constraints, and phylogenetics to provide a concise but comprehensive look at current topics in animal behavior. This book provides a well-thought-out and integrated introduction to the complexity of animal behavior that should appeal to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and professional scientists in other fields in need of a succinct review of the field.
- Schmid-Hempel. 2010. Evolutionary Parasitology: The Integrated Study of Infections, Immunology, Ecology, and Genetics.
Parasites are everywhere. And they affect almost every aspect imaginable in the life of their hosts. Parasites influence host physiology, behavior, life histories, and the structure of entire ecosystems. To cope with these constant threats, the host’s immune system has evolved to become one of the most complex organs known. But parasites, too, have found their own ways to overcome defences and to manipulate their hosts for their own interests. As a result, hosts and parasite are constantly forced to adapt to one another, sometimes very rapidly, sometimes changes occur only over eons. But this struggle always has far reaching consequences for the biology of both parties. For the first time, this book gives a comprehensive overview over the many facets of host-parasite interactions, from the molecular bases to individual strategies and to the ecological and evolutionary consequences. It is informed by the progress in our understanding that has occurred over the past decades. No longer do we view well-adapted parasites to become harmless but, quite to the contrary, parasite virulence is, determined, both, by the processes that lead to harm and by the evolutionary costs and benefits of this damage. Similarly, parasitism is no longer regarded as being inevitably bad, rather it can be a major factor maintaining diversity in populations and communities, selecting for beautiful plumages of birds, or making us more social. Evolutionary Parasitology deals with a wide range of topics, from immunology, genetics, sexual selection, to population dynamics, ecology and co-evolution. Readers from different fields and with different backgrounds will find a rich source to meet their interests and to expand their insights into neighbouring disciplines.
- Schumaker, Walkup, Beck. 2011. Animal Tool Behavior: The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals.
When published in 1980, Benjamin B. Beck’s Animal Tool Behavior was the first volume to catalog and analyze the complete literature on tool use and manufacture in non-human animals. Beck showed that animals-from insects to primates-employed different types of tools to solve numerous problems. His work inspired and energized legions of researchers to study the use of tools by a wide variety of species. In this revised and updated edition of the landmark publication, Robert W. Shumaker and Kristina R. Walkup join Beck to reveal the current state of knowledge regarding animal tool behavior. Through a comprehensive synthesis of the studies produced through 2010, the authors provide an updated and exact definition of tool use, identify new modes of use that have emerged in the literature, examine all forms of tool manufacture, and address common myths about non-human tool use. Specific examples involving invertebrates, birds, fish, and mammals describe the differing levels of sophistication of tool use exhibited by animals.
- Sébert. 2010. Comparative High Pressure Biology.
High pressure biology is an old, fascinating and stimulating field of research. One of the major reasons for the interest in studying high pressure is that this environmental factor also plays an important role in thermodynamics and consequently in biology. Pressure, from a biological perspective, has a bearing on all living creatures. The book presents a panoramic view of this subject from molecules to the overall organism, via the cells and unicellular species, invertebrates and vertebrates, ectotherms and endotherms. This book provides not only the more recent results in each of its chapters but also suggests new directions for research.
- Sheppard, Davy, Pilling. 2011. The Biology of Coral Reefs.
Coral reefs represent the most spectacular and diverse marine ecosystem on the planet as well as a critical source of income for millions of people. However, the combined effects of human activity have led to a rapid decline in the health of reefs worldwide, with many now facing complete destruction. This timely book provides an integrated overview of the function, physiology, ecology, and behaviour of coral reef organisms. Each chapter is enriched with a selection of ‘boxes’ on specific aspects written by internationally recognised experts. As with other books in the Biology of Habitats Series, the emphasis in this book is on the organisms that dominate this marine environment although pollution, conservation, climate change, and experimental aspects are also included. Indeed, particular emphasis is placed on conservation and management due to the habitat’s critically endangered status. A global range of examples is employed which gives the book international relevance. This accessible text is intended for students, naturalists and professionals and assumes no previous knowledge of coral reef biology. It is particularly suitable for both senior undergraduate and graduate students (in departments of biology, geography, and environmental science) taking courses in coral reef ecology, marine biology, oceanography and conservation biology, as well as the many professional ecologists and conservation biologists requiring a concise overview of the topic. It will also be of relevance and use to reef managers, recreational divers, and amateur naturalists.
- Sherman, Alcock. 2010. Exploring Animal Behavior: Readings From the American Scientist.
This anthology contains 34 articles published since 1977 in American Scientist, the journal of the scientific society Sigma Xi. Articles illustrate how behaviourists think about and conduct their research, and provide greater insight into the behaviour of selected vertebrate and invertebrate species than most textbook accounts. While sequenced particularly to complement John Alcock’s Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, this readily comprehensible and richly illustrated reader will enhance courses based on other textbooks as well. Indeed, the book can stand alone as a sampler of the excitement and diversity of research approaches and organisms that constitute the modern study of animal behaviour.
- Sumpter. 2010. Collective Animal Behavior.
Fish travel in schools, birds migrate in flocks, honeybees swarm, and ants build trails. How and why do these collective behaviors occur? Exploring how coordinated group patterns emerge from individual interactions, Collective Animal Behavior reveals why animals produce group behaviors and examines their evolution across a range of species. Providing a synthesis of mathematical modeling, theoretical biology, and experimental work, David Sumpter investigates how animals move and arrive together, how they transfer information, how they make decisions and synchronize their activities, and how they build collective structures. Sumpter constructs a unified appreciation of how different group-living species coordinate their behaviors and why natural selection has produced these groups. For the first time, the book combines traditional approaches to behavioral ecology with ideas about self-organization and complex systems from physics and mathematics. Sumpter offers a guide for working with key models in this area along with case studies of their application, and he shows how ideas about animal behavior can be applied to understanding human social behavior.
Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. The pages take the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science and adventure, along the way addressing some riddles about what intelligence is, and what monsters lie in the deep. In addition to squid, both giant and otherwise, Kraken examines other equally enthralling cephalopods, including the octopus and the cuttlefish, and explores their otherworldly abilities, such as camouflage and bioluminescence. Accessible and entertaining, Kraken is also the first substantial volume on the subject in more than a decade and a must for fans of popular science.
- Wolf. 2010. Comparative Biology of Aging.
The processes of aging and death remain one of the most fascinating, and mysterious, areas of biological research. Huge anomalies between species raise questions the answers to which could have fundamental implications for the field of medical science. As scientists unlock the secrets of the exceptionally long-lived little brown bat (up to 34 years), or the common Budgerigar which despite having a metabolic rate 1.5 times that of a laboratory mouse, can live for up to 20 years, it has become more important than ever to be able to make a comparative analysis of the various species used in research. Dealing with every one of the species that are employed in laboratory research, this is the first book on the subject of aging that provides detailed comparative data for age-related changes in its subjects. It does so at the level of the whole animal, its organs, organelles and molecules. The comparative data, supplied in 15 chapters by leading experts, provides information on fields as disparate as telomere function and loss, the importance of the Sirtuins and Tor, the influence of hormones on lifespans, the relationship between body size and lifespan, the effects of restricted calorific intake, age-related changes in cell replication, and DNA damage and repair. Chapters are devoted to cardiac aging, comparative skeletal muscle aging, the aging of the nervous and immune systems, the comparative biology of lyosomal function and how it is affected by age, and many other key areas of research. This much-needed text will provide scientists working in a wide spectrum of fields with key data to aid them in their studies.
- Zupanc. 2010. Behavioral Neurobiology: An Integrative Approach.
Animals often exhibit intriguing and captivating patterns of behavior, from migration and homing, to communication. But how is this behavior controlled? This new textbook introduces undergraduate students and other readers to the fascinating field of neuroethology–the study of the neurobiological processes underlying animal behavior. Written in a lively, easy to read style, and assuming no background knowledge of animal behavior or neurobiology, this book introduces the key concepts and ideas which underpin the subject, and describes many of the key findings that have helped us to understand this intricate and elegant subject. Beginning with a look at the history of the study of behavior, from Aristotle to recent breakthroughs and predictions for the future, the book then reviews the ethological and neurobiological concepts that constitute the essential tools of behavioral neurobiology, before moving on to the field of neuroethology itself. In each chapter, the text not only describes the major findings in each area, but also describes the approaches used to obtain these results. Many chapters contain a detailed case study describing the research performed. A key feature of the text is the number of excellent learning aids included. Each chapter ends with a summary of key points, exercises and suggestions for further reading. Boxes are used both to provide relevant physical and chemical background information and to add additional historical interest by describing the life and work of eminent neuroethologists.