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Books for the ecology students, the working ecologists, and even the zoologists among you.
My favourite field of “pure” ecology, macroecology explains ecological patterns and processes at the broadest temporal and spatial scales, and seeks to find the mechanisms common at all of them. This book reprints some of the most influential macroecological papers from the past two centuries, and provides discussions of their influence and validity from the foremost experts on macroecology. In all a vital book for those looking to get into the field, providing both a historical perspective and an overview of the state of the art.
Most animals have functional eyes. Most use their eyes to interact with their environments, their prey, their predators. But every species’s visual system is different: colour perception, shape distinction, and motion detection are all abilities that we humans take for granted, but some animals lack them, others have taken them to an extreme level compared to us. Visual ecology is the field that studies how these varied abilities influence animal behaviour and ecology. This textbook is thus of interest to ethologists, but through effective reviews of the visual system of many taxa, I would also recommend it as further reading for comparative zoology courses.
My work providing extracurricular fieldtrips to schools has provided some great challenges, foremost among them being that no school will provide the funding and the time off for a field trip to anywhere decently wild. As such, I’ve become a big fan of urban ecology – the study of ecosystems that develop within cities. From green areas like cemetaries and parks to pavements, cities are teeming with non-human life forming communities much like those in the wilderness. Showing this biodiversity that lives right outside schoolkids’s doorsteps is often quite a shock and delight to them. In any case, this is a textbook of urban ecology. I can’t really say much more about it, hence the anecdote.
A book every budding and working ecologist should have at hand. Exactly as advertised.
Another one for the ethologists and zoologists, this one is all about pheromone biology. It encompasses every single aspect of the field: how to detect and study pheromones; their effects on behaviour; and their functional, benevolent, or parasitic uses by different taxa. A reference work needed by anyone working with pheromone-using taxa. Also thankfully contains a section laying to rest the myth of human pheromones, a myth I’ve had to debunk more times than I care for.
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