A new vision is sweeping through ecological science: The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension-the dimension of time. Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct. In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of "missing partners" in nature evolved from isolated, curious examples into an idea that is transforming how ecologists understand the entire flora and fauna of the Americas. This fascinating book will enrich and deepen the experience of anyone who enjoys a stroll through the woods or even down an urban sidewalk. But this knowledge has a dark side too: Barlow's "ghost stories" teach us that the ripples of biodiversity loss around us now are just the leading edge of what may well become perilous cascades of extinction.
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Connie Barlow is an author and editor whose previous books include Green Space, Green Time, Evolution Extended, and From Gaia to Selfish Genes. She lives in New York City and New Mexico.From Publishers Weekly:
In 1982, respected ecologists Dan Janzen and Paul Martin published a short, provocative paper in the journal Science, asserting that many fruits found in Central American forests "are adapted primarily for animals that have been extinct for thirteen thousand years." As those species went the way of the dodo, the fruits lost their initial means of dispersal, but continued to eke out a system of procreation, Janzen and Martin explained. Their insight led to the methodological realization that to fully understand the evolutionary forces shaping these fruits, scientists must first determine the behavior of the extinct animals. Science writer Barlow (From Gaia to Selfish Genes) extends this compelling idea into a narrative stretching from the Pleistocene era up through the inception, rejection and gradual, partial acceptance of this theory by the ecological science community. The large, pendulous seedpods of a honey locust, Barlow shows, evoke the ghosts of mammoths that used to disperse the seeds. Although there are some beautiful passages, too often the writing is precious and repetitive. Barlow details her own rather simplistic observations of certain plants e.g., persimmon, osage orange and ginkgo whose anachronistic existence is similar to the Central American fruits, but she does not contribute significantly to the underlying theory. Janzen and Martin explained their ideas in nine pages. Barlow, with 20 years of hindsight and 25 times as many pages, embellishes the story convincingly but doesn't add much new information. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Descrizione libro Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0465005519
Descrizione libro Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0465005519
Descrizione libro Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110465005519
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