Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1459627385

Category:

Page: 336

View: 4771

Jonathan Silvertown here explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties - and exotic plant life - have earned it the sobriquet ''the Gal pagos of botany.'' Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever - challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. This paperback edition will include an entirely new chapter on the astonishing diversity of plant life in the Western Cape of South Africa that focuses on fynbos, a vegetation endemic to the Cape. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757773

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 7819

At the heart of evolution lies a bewildering paradox. Natural selection favors above all the individual that leaves the most offspring—a superorganism of sorts that Jonathan Silvertown here calls the "Darwinian demon." But if such a demon existed, this highly successful organism would populate the entire world with its own kind, beating out other species and eventually extinguishing biodiversity as we know it. Why then, if evolution favors this demon, is the world filled with so many different life forms? What keeps this Darwinian demon in check? If humankind is now the greatest threat to biodiversity on the planet, have we become the Darwinian demon? Demons in Eden considers these questions using the latest scientific discoveries from the plant world. Readers join Silvertown as he explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet "the Galapagos of botany." Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

Demons in Eden

The Paradox of Plant Diversity

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757722

Category: Nature

Page: 185

View: 5546

At the heart of evolution lies a bewildering paradox. Natural selection favors above all the individual that leaves the most offspring—a superorganism of sorts that Jonathan Silvertown here calls the "Darwinian demon." But if such a demon existed, this highly successful organism would populate the entire world with its own kind, beating out other species and eventually extinguishing biodiversity as we know it. Why then, if evolution favors this demon, is the world filled with so many different life forms? What keeps this Darwinian demon in check? If humankind is now the greatest threat to biodiversity on the planet, have we become the Darwinian demon? Demons in Eden considers these questions using the latest scientific discoveries from the plant world. Readers join Silvertown as he explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet "the Galapagos of botany." Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.

Dinner with Darwin

Food, Drink, and Evolution

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624539X

Category: Cooking

Page: 240

View: 5332

What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of crepes of course, but they also each have an evolutionary purpose. Eggs, seeds (from which flour is derived by grinding) and milk are each designed by evolution to nourish offspring. Everything we eat has an evolutionary history. Grocery shelves and restaurant menus are bounteous evidence of evolution at work, though the label on the poultry will not remind us of this with a Jurassic sell-by date, nor will the signs in the produce aisle betray the fact that corn has a 5,000 year history of artificial selection by pre-Colombian Americans. Any shopping list, each recipe, every menu and all ingredients can be used to create culinary and gastronomic magic, but can also each tell a story about natural selection, and its influence on our plates--and palates. Join in for multiple courses, for a tour of evolutionary gastronomy that helps us understand the shape of our diets, and the trajectories of the foods that have been central to them over centuries--from spirits to spices. This literary repast also looks at the science of our interaction with foods and cooking--the sights, the smells, the tastes. The menu has its eclectic components, just as any chef is entitled. But while it is not a comprehensive work which might risk gluttony, this is more than an amuse bouche, and will leave every reader hungry for more.

An Orchard Invisible

A Natural History of Seeds

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Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226757803

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 716

The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself. Beginning with the evolution of the first seed plant from fernlike ancestors more than 360 million years ago, Silvertown carries his tale through epochs and around the globe. In a clear and engaging style, he delves into the science of seeds: How and why do some lie dormant for years on end? How did seeds evolve? The wide variety of uses that humans have developed for seeds of all sorts also receives a fascinating look, studded with examples, including foods, oils, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. An able guide with an eye for the unusual, Silvertown is happy to take readers on unexpected—but always interesting—tangents, from Lyme disease to human color vision to the Salem witch trials. But he never lets us forget that the driving force behind the story of seeds—its theme, even—is evolution, with its irrepressible habit of stumbling upon new solutions to the challenges of life. "I have great faith in a seed," Thoreau wrote. "Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Written with a scientist’s knowledge and a gardener’s delight, An Orchard Invisible offers those wonders in a package that will be irresistible to science buffs and green thumbs alike.

Fragile Web

What Next for Nature?

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Author: Jonathan W. Silvertown

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Nature

Page: 192

View: 1635

Jonathan Silvertown is professor of ecology at the Open University, Milton Keynes, and the author of An Orchard Invisible and Demons in Eden and editor of 99% Ape, all published by the University of Chicago Press. --Book Jacket.

Old Fields

Dynamics and Restoration of Abandoned Farmland

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Author: Richard J. Hobbs

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 9781610910989

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 5588

Land abandonment is increasing as human influence on the globe intensifies and various ecological, social, and economic factors conspire to force the cessation of agriculture and other forms of land management. The “old fields” that result from abandonment have been the subject of much study, yet few attempts have been made to examine the larger questions raised by old field dynamics. Old Fields brings together leading experts from around the world to synthesize past and current work on old fields, providing an up-to-date perspective on the ecological dynamics of abandoned land. The book gives readers a broad understanding of why agricultural land is abandoned, the factors that determine the ecological recovery of old fields, and how this understanding contributes to theoretical and applied ecology. Twelve case studies from diverse geographical and climatic areas—including Australian rainforest, Brazilian Amazonia, New Jersey piedmont, and South African renosterveld—offer a global perspective on the causes and results of land abandonment. Concluding chapters consider the similarities and differences among the case studies, examine them in the context of ecological concepts, and discuss their relevance to the growing field of restoration ecology. Old Fields is the first book to draw together studies on old fields from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It represents an important contribution to the development of theory on old field dynamics and the practice of ecological restoration on abandoned farmland, and the broader implications of old field dynamics to ecology and restoration.

Sound Reporting

The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production

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Author: Jonathan Kern

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022611175X

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 380

View: 3089

Perhaps you’ve always wondered how public radio gets that smooth, well-crafted sound. Maybe you’re thinking about starting a podcast, and want some tips from the pros. Or maybe storytelling has always been a passion of yours, and you want to learn to do it more effectively. Whatever the case—whether you’re an avid NPR listener or you aspire to create your own audio, or both—Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production will give you a rare tour of the world of a professional broadcaster. Jonathan Kern, who has trained NPR’s on-air staff for years, is a gifted guide, able to narrate a day in the life of a host and lay out the nuts and bolts of production with equal wit and warmth. Along the way, he explains the importance of writing the way you speak, reveals how NPR books guests ranging from world leaders to neighborhood newsmakers, and gives sage advice on everything from proposing stories to editors to maintaining balance and objectivity. Best of all—because NPR wouldn’t be NPR without its array of distinctive voices—lively examples from popular shows and colorful anecdotes from favorite personalities animate each chapter. As public radio’s audience of millions can attest, NPR’s unique guiding principles and technical expertise combine to connect with listeners like no other medium can. With today’s technologies allowing more people to turn their home computers into broadcast studios, Sound Reporting couldn’t have arrived at a better moment to reveal the secrets behind the story of NPR’s success.

The Ecology of Plants

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Author: Jessica Gurevitch,Samuel M. Scheiner,Gordon A. Fox

Publisher: Sinauer Associates Incorporated

ISBN: 9780878932948

Category: Science

Page: 574

View: 2022

Population, evolution, water, soil, ecosystem, global change.

Campaigning for Hearts and Minds

How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work

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Author: Ted Brader

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226069883

Category: Political Science

Page: 280

View: 6461

Useful for those wishing to understand how American politics is influenced by advertising, this scientific study examines the effects these emotional appeals in political advertising have on voter decision-making.

Imperial Nature

Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science

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Author: Jim Endersby

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226207919

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 429

View: 2244

Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) was an internationally renowned botanist, a close friend and early supporter of Charles Darwin, and one of the first—and most successful—British men of science to become a full-time professional. He was also, Jim Endersby argues, the perfect embodiment of Victorian science. A vivid picture of the complex interrelationships of scientific work and scientific ideas, Imperial Nature gracefully uses one individual’s career to illustrate the changing world of science in the Victorian era. By analyzing Hooker’s career, Endersby offers vivid insights into the everyday activities of nineteenth-century naturalists, considering matters as diverse as botanical illustration and microscopy, classification, and specimen transportation and storage, to reveal what they actually did, how they earned a living, and what drove their scientific theories. What emerges is a rare glimpse of Victorian scientific practices in action. By focusing on science’s material practices and one of its foremost practitioners, Endersby ably links concerns about empire, professionalism, and philosophical practices to the forging of a nineteenth-century scientific identity.

Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

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Author: Christian C. Voigt,Tigga Kingston

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319252208

Category: Nature

Page: 606

View: 3190

This book focuses on central themes related to the conservation of bats. It details their response to land-use change and management practices, intensified urbanization and roost disturbance and loss. Increasing interactions between humans and bats as a result of hunting, disease relationships, occupation of human dwellings, and conflict over fruit crops are explored in depth. Finally, contributors highlight the roles that taxonomy, conservation networks and conservation psychology have to play in conserving this imperilled but vital taxon. With over 1300 species, bats are the second largest order of mammals, yet as the Anthropocene dawns, bat populations around the world are in decline. Greater understanding of the anthropogenic drivers of this decline and exploration of possible mitigation measures are urgently needed if we are to retain global bat diversity in the coming decades. This book brings together teams of international experts to provide a global review of current understanding and recommend directions for future research and mitigation.

Human Biological Diversity

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Author: Daniel E. Brown

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317347803

Category: Social Science

Page: 360

View: 1561

This text is intended for the sophomore level course in human variation/human biology taught in anthropology departments. It may also serve as a supplementary text in introductory physical anthropology courses. In addition to covering the standard topics for the course, it features contemporary topics in human biology such as the Human Genome Project, genetic engineering, the effects of stress, obesity and pollution.

All that is Solid Melts Into Air

The Experience of Modernity

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Author: Marshall Berman

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9780860917854

Category: Civilization, Modern

Page: 383

View: 1639

The experience of modernization -- the dizzying social changes that swept millions of people into the capitalist world -- and modernism in art, literature and architecture are brilliantly integrated in this account.

The Emerald Planet

How plants changed Earth's history

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Author: David Beerling

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192529781

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 8888

Plants have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Far from being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them. In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how plants played a starring role in pushing oxygen levels upwards, allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and it strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victorian times onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles. This understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the world through the stories they tell. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

The Paradoxical Brain

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Author: Narinder Kapur

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139495798

Category: Psychology

Page: N.A

View: 9458

The Paradoxical Brain focuses on a range of phenomena in clinical and cognitive neuroscience that are counterintuitive and go against the grain of established thinking. The book covers a wide range of topics by leading researchers, including: • Superior performance after brain lesions or sensory loss • Return to normal function after a second brain lesion in neurological conditions • Paradoxical phenomena associated with human development • Examples where having one disease appears to prevent the occurrence of another disease • Situations where drugs with adverse effects on brain functioning may have beneficial effects in certain situations A better understanding of these interactions will lead to a better understanding of brain function and to the introduction of new therapeutic strategies. The book will be of interest to those working at the interface of brain and behaviour, including neuropsychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists.

99% Ape

How Evolution Adds Up

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Author: Jonathan W. Silvertown

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780226757780

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 2176

"Darwin was mocked for suggesting that humans have apes for ancestors, but every scientific advance in the study of life in the last 150 years has confirmed the reality of evolution. In 99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Up leading experts explain this fundamental yet often complex subject and guide the general reader through the latest evidence."-back cover.

Major Evolutionary Transitions in Flowering Plant Reproduction

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Author: Spencer Charles Hilton Barrett

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226038165

Category: Science

Page: 209

View: 7239

The first volume to address the study of evolutionary transitions in plants, Major Evolutionary Transitions in Flowering Plant Reproduction brings together compelling work from the three areas of significant innovation in plant biology: evolution and adaptation in flowers and pollination, mating patterns and gender strategies, and asexual reproduction and polyploidy. Spencer C. H. Barrett assembles here a distinguished group of authors who address evolutionary transitions using comparative and phylogenetic approaches, the tools of genomics, population genetics, and theoretical modeling, and through studies in development and field experiments in ecology. With special focus on evolutionary transitions and shifts in reproductive characters—key elements of biological diversification and research in evolutionary biology—Major Evolutionary Transitions in Flowering Plant Reproduction is the most up-to-date treatment of a fast-moving area of evolutionary biology and ecology.

How the Earth Turned Green

A Brief 3.8-Billion-Year History of Plants

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Author: Joseph E. Armstrong

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226069777

Category: Science

Page: 577

View: 3482

On this blue planet, long before pterodactyls took to the skies and tyrannosaurs prowled the continents, tiny green organisms populated the ancient oceans. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggests that chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85% of Earth’s long history—that is, for roughly 3.5 billion years. In How the Earth Turned Green, Joseph E. Armstrong traces the history of these verdant organisms, which many would call plants, from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green life that inhabits the Earth today. Using an evolutionary framework, How the Earth Turned Green addresses questions such as: Should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and to other chlorophyll-free organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earth’s ecosystems? More engaging than a traditional textbook and displaying an astonishing breadth, How the Earth Turned Green will both delight and enlighten embryonic botanists and any student interested in the evolutionary history of plants.