Top 2015 Academic Zoology Books

These are my top 10 academic zoology books for 2015. Note that this is my list, so it’s very biased towards invertebrates. Also note that arthropods and vertebrates have their own lists. Personal reviews available on request!

See the rest of this year’s book recommendations here!

This book provides an up-to-date review of the biology of myxozoans, which represent a divergent clade of endoparasitic cnidarians. Myxozoans are of fundamental interest in understanding how early diverging metazoans have adopted parasitic lifestyles, and are also of considerable economic and ecological concern as endoparasites of fish. Synthesizing recent research, the chapters explore issues such as myxozoan origins; evolutionary trends and diversification; development and life cycles; interactions with hosts; immunology; disease ecology; the impacts of climate change on disease; risk assessment; emerging diseases; and disease mitigation. This comprehensive work will appeal to a wide readership, from invertebrate zoologists, evolutionary biologists and developmental biologists to ecologists and parasitologists. It will also be of great practical interest to fisheries and conservation biologists. The identification of key areas for future research will appeal to scientists at all levels.

  1. Echinoidea

    by Heinke A.G. Schultz [De Gruyter, Hardcover]
    Price: $350.00 £187.99 EUR 249,95 EUR 249,95 EUR 249,95 EUR 249,95 CDN$ 495.74

This volume is the first of two books on recent sea urchins (class Echinoidea). The descriptions with illustrations enable the reader to identify most of the species living today in our oceans. Recent scientific results are included. Vol. 1 treats the sea urchins with pentameral symmetry and includes the cidarids and the regular Acroechinoidea. Living on the sea floor their habitat reaches from the intertidal zone with heavy surf to the abyssal.

  1. The Choanoflagellates: Evolution, Biology and Ecology

    by Barry S. C. Leadbeater [Cambridge University Press, Hardcover]
    Price: $81.59 £63.89 EUR 85,72 EUR 77,04 EUR 83,20 - CDN$ 116.03

Choanoflagellates have three distinctive claims to fame: they are the closest, living, unicellular relatives of animals; they are a major component of aquatic microbial foodwebs; and one group is remarkable for its siliceous basket-like coverings. This landmark book offers a unique synthesis of over forty years of choanoflagellates research. Key areas are covered, from the phylogenetic evidence supporting the sister-group relationship between choanoflagellates and Metazoa, to choanoflagellate distribution and diversity in marine and freshwater environments. The structure and assembly of choanoflagellate loricae is also presented together with a full discussion of a novel example of ‘regulatory evolution’, suggesting that the switch from nudiform to tectiform cell division and lorica production was achieved by a sudden reorganisation of existing structures and mechanisms. Providing an authoritative summary of what is currently known about choanoflagellates, this title will serve as a foundation upon which future research and discussion can take place.

This is the first of three volumes dedicated to animals that molt in the course of their lifecycle, the Ecdysozoa. It covers all non-hexapods and non-crustaceans, i.e., the Cycloneuralia, Tardigrada, Onychophora, Chelicerata and Myriapoda. While the Nematoda and all other phyla are treated in their own chapters, the remaining cycloneuralians are presented jointly due to the dearth of available developmental data on its individual subclades.

This volume starts off with three chapters that set the stage for the entire work by covering general aspects of EvoDevo research, including its relevance for animal phylogeny, homology issues in the age of developmental genomics, and embryological data in the fossil record. These are followed by taxon-based chapters on the animals that are commonly considered to have branched off the Animal Tree of Life before the evolution of the Bilateria: the Porifera, Placozoa, Cnidaria (with the Myxozoa being treated separately) and Ctenophora. In addition, the Acoelomorpha, Xenoturbellida and Chaetognatha are examined, including their currently hotly debated phylogenetic affinities.

Integrative Organismal Biology synthesizes current understandings of the causes and consequences of individual variation at the physiological, behavioral and organismal levels. Emphasizing key topics such as phenotypic plasticity and flexibility, and summarizing emerging areas such as ecological immunology, oxidative stress biology and others, Integrative Organismal Biology pulls together information from diverse disciplines to provide a synthetic view of the role of the individual in evolution.

This richly illustrated book presents the diversity and natural history of sea snail groups. By integrating aspects of morphology, ecology, evolution and behaviour, it describes how each group copes with problems of defence, locomotion, nutrition, reproduction and embryonic development. First come general characteristics of the Mollusca, to which snails belong; and next, characteristics by which snails (Gastropoda) differ from other molluscs. Then a broad, panoramic view of all major sea snail groups, from the primitive to the more advanced, is presented, including both the more abundant and some remote ones of special interest. In detailing primitive sea snails, first limpets (Patellogastropoda) are described, followed by brush snails (Vetigastropoda: top-shells, turbans and allies) and nerites (Neritimorpha), a small group with remarkably high variation in shell colour and in habitats. In looking at advanced-snails (Caenogastropoda), it details the herbivorous grazers and filter-feeders and the many voracious predators, some which use venomous darts. The book also covers sea slugs (Opisthobranchia), which have shifted from mechanical to chemical defence; some are herbivores, some use their food to harness solar energy, others are predators that gain stinging cells and poisonous compounds from their food. In addition, readers will learn about aspects of sea snails in human culture, including use as sacred artefacts and objects of magic and money, as a source of the royal and sacred dyes of purple and blue and as holy ceremonial trumpets. The text, in which scientific terms are accompanied by parallel common ones, is accompanied by over 200 illustrations (mostly in colour). This comprehensive, insightful portrait of sea snails will appeal to marine biologists, zoology lecturers and students, biology teachers, field-school instructors, nature reserve wardens, amateur naturalists, as well as to lecturers and learners of human culture.

The diversity of animal signals has been widely documented, and the generality of animal signals also tantalizingly suggests that there are common mechanisms that have selected for their origin. However, while much progress has been made on some fronts, we still lack a general theory about why the diversity of signaling structures exist. Our compilation will directly address this gap by focusing on an exciting new arena of sexual selection, namely using functional approaches to understand signaling. This approach is rooted in the idea that many signals are designed to transmit important functional imformation that is both important for issues of male quality (and hence male competition), and female choice. The increasing use of technology in sexual selection studies has enabled researchers to test whether signaling is either constrained by, or accurately transmits information about functional capacities. Further, in animals that fight vigorously, functional capacities such as endurance or strength may make the difference between winning and losing. This volume brings together a diverse collection of researchers who are actively investigating how function and signaling are related. These researchers use both a variety of methods and taxa to study animal signaling, and we believe that this integrative view is important to open up fresh vistas for why animal signals have evolved.

This chapter is dedicated to the Deuterostomia, comprising the Echinodermata and Hemichordata (usually grouped together as the Ambulacraria) as well as the Cephalochordata and the Tunicata.

Animal Behavior: Concepts, Methods, and Applications, International Edition uses a conceptual approach that puts the process of science and applications front and centre. The text guides students through featured research examples that strongly emphasise the process of scientific inquiry. The approach is based on the growing mandate to shift science education from rote memorisation to a conceptual approach that emphasises the nature of inquiry in science. The major concepts in each chapter are accompanied by empirical examples from diverse taxa taken directly from the primary literature. This approach immerses students in the process of animal behaviour research and helps them understand how we know what we know. In addition, the text highlights real-world applications and helps students see how the science of animal behaviour connects to their everyday lives.

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