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Could someone recommend a book for surveying species?


I'm trying to get/renew basic knowledge of species. Could someone recommend a book for surveying "important"/"representational" species? I am looking for a book with good illustrations and that covers most "important"/"representational" species.

I am currently reading The Tree of Life: A Phylogenetic Classification, and it is thicker than I want to read as a first book in this kind.


Judging from your response to Gurav in the comments, it sounds like introductory zoology and plant biology texts would fit the bill.

For zoology, we teach from Hickman et al's Integrated Principles of Zoology. It outlines the major phyla, their defining characteristics, with plenty of specific examples scattered throughout. There are nice little problem sets throughout, and it goes into a solid amount of detail for a first or second year zoology course.

For plants, I've used Graham et al's Plant Biology, which takes a similar general approach. Though it's perhaps a bit broader, and less species-focused.

Both of these books outline the major relevant groups, and use 'representative' species to illustrate various biological points throughout. They might be a good place to start!


The number of species on the planet, or in any geographical area, is the result of an equilibrium of two evolutionary processes that are ongoing: speciation and extinction. When speciation rates begin to outstrip extinction rates, the number of species will increase. Likewise, the reverse is true when extinction rates begin to overtake speciation rates. Throughout the history of life on Earth, as reflected in the fossil record, these two processes have fluctuated to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes leading to dramatic changes in the number of species on the planet as reflected in the fossil record (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Extinction intensity as reflected in the fossil record has fluctuated throughout Earth’s history. Sudden and dramatic losses of biodiversity, called mass extinctions, have occurred five times.

Paleontologists have identified five layers in the fossil record that appear to show sudden and dramatic losses in biodiversity. These are called mass extinctions and are characterized by more than half of all species disappearing from the fossil record. There are many lesser, yet still dramatic, extinction events, but the five mass extinctions have attracted the most research into their causes. An argument can be made that the five mass extinctions are only the five most extreme events in a continuous series of large extinction events throughout the fossil record (since 542 million years ago). The most recent extinction in geological time, about 65 million years ago, saw the disappearance of most dinosaurs species (except birds) and many other species. Most scientists now agree the main cause of this extinction was the impact of a large asteroid in the present-day Yucatán Peninsula and the subsequent energy release and global climate changes caused by dust ejected into the atmosphere.


Could someone recommend a book for surveying species? - Biology

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Published to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Watson and Crickâ&euro&trades discovery of the structure of DNA, an annotated and illustrated edition of this classic book gives new insights into the personal relationships between James Watson, Frances Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin, and the . More »


DISCUSSION

The results of this study indicate that the new guided constructivist approach of a textbook in undergraduate introductory biology enhances student acquisition of critical competencies and metacognitive awareness without compromising traditional content knowledge. ICB emphasizes: the scientific process that led to biological understanding students constructing their own knowledge from original research data quantitative analysis and interpretation relevance of biology to everyday experience and reducing the volume of content memorization. Moreover, students reported satisfaction and excitement with ICB. Open-ended student comments indicated students gained a broader perspective in biology and transferability of critical thinking and analytical skills to other courses.

One of the concerns and criticisms with employing the scientific process in ICB was that students would not gain the necessary content knowledge, basic vocabulary, and foundational details that most educators see as crucial to the introductory biology experience. However, many recent research publications and calls to improve the way undergraduate biology is taught present the opposite point of view (NRC, 2003 AAAS, 2011). There is wide agreement that focusing on minutiae to the exclusion of the “big picture” and critical competencies has proven ineffective for many students. Focusing on content has become a particular concern, as the volume of biological information, along with the amount of jargon and heft of introductory textbooks, have expanded tremendously in recent decades. Students that used ICB, however, performed just as well as their traditionally taught peers on typical introductory biology multiple-choice content questions (Figure 3). In fact, there is a trend of improvement, though not strictly significant, in long-term retention of content knowledge in students taught with this approach. Consistent with previous reports, cultivating critical thinking and firmly rooting biological concepts in their context allows students to make meaningful connections that strengthen their understanding and recall of previously learned material. Recursive learning on one's own when connections to previously learned material are triggered by later contexts is another hallmark of the development of disciplinary expertise (NRC, 2000).

Also central to the calls for undergraduate biology reform has been the assertion that students should be more proficient with quantitative reasoning and understanding and interpreting experimental data. ICB introduces students to the big ideas of biology through the use of data figures and tables from original research literature and guides them through the analysis and interpretation of these real experimental results. This technique taught students how to examine, think about, and understand these results, which they apply significantly better than traditional students (Figure 4). Perhaps it should not be surprising that ICB students performed better on interpretation skills questions, since they had substantial practice interpreting data during their reading and classroom sessions. Importantly, our results demonstrate that students were able to apply what they learned to new situations and unfamiliar data and to do so more effectively over time. The traditional students were less effective in performing this kind of analysis and interpretation, and did not improve over the semester (Figure 4). The data indicate that students do not develop analytical skills when they use a traditional textbook in which most ideas are delivered as “handed-down” knowledge. For introductory biology students, learning data analysis skills appears to be more like learning a language than learning to ride a bike, in that the gains from the Fall semester were not sustained through the Spring semester in the absence of continued practice. Data interpretation skills require regular practice for more than just one semester in order to retain them over the long term.

Additional benefits of ICB became evident from our pre- and postsemester surveys of students’ perceptions of biology and their own scientific abilities, which are also supported by collected student comments (Tables 1–4). Although ICB student responses were unchanged, the traditional student responses changed after the second semester (from +0.22 to 0.00) when asked whether all the big questions have already been answered (Table 2). It appears the Spring semester of Biology 112, which focused on “big biology,” helped those students realize how unanswered questions still exist in biology. ICB students, who collectively performed better in the skills survey (Figure 3) and retained content information longer (Figure 2), were less confident in their ability than the traditional students (Table 1). However, a disconnect between novices’ self-reporting and actual ability is well documented (Mabe and West, 1982 Sundberg and Moncada, 1994 Dunning et al., 2004 Gross and Latham, 2007). The student perception data suggest that students using ICB developed greater metacognitive awareness of their scientific abilities and limitations. The students using ICB understood their own limitations, an indication of critical introspection and progress in the transition from novice toward expert that we strive to foster in students (Mabe and West, 1982 Dunning et al., 2004 Gross and Latham, 2007). It appears that the ICB students may have developed a more humble perspective on their own ability as a result of the constructivist approach and their struggles interpreting data. Collectively, these self-perception data indicate that, during both the Fall semester and the Spring semester, ICB students developed perceptions of the field of biology that more closely reflect the perceptions of professional biologists when compared with the traditional students.

ICB was intended to cultivate curiosity, and appeared to do so, based on a number of student comments expressing satisfaction with the approach. Students appreciated knowing the data-driven answers to the question “How do we know that?” for so many concepts that they would traditionally be asked to accept on faith (belief in the absence of evidence). The authors of ICB wanted students to develop a more realistic perspective on biology and biologists. Instead of reading and memorizing summaries of research, ICB readers were encouraged to take the same intellectual steps as the original scientists and draw their own conclusions. Biological knowledge does not magically appear in a textbook out of thin air it was established by hardworking people through the scientific process, and the ICB students engaged with that process.

Furthermore, interpreting original data has the effect of humanizing biology and making it more relevant to students. These benefits were borne out by the perceptions survey data (Tables 1–3) and in student comments (Table 4), particularly the satisfaction of knowing experimental underpinnings and appreciating the constructivist learning model in general. The humanizing of science and students’ understanding that people like themselves personally conducted research to discover and develop the concepts in their introductory courses can be important for increasing diversity in science. With such role models, students who have traditionally felt excluded by the scientific enterprise suddenly find biology to be a deeply personal endeavor that can certainly include them (Tsui, 2007 Chamany et al., 2008).

This formative study does not represent the last improvement in Biology 111—it is the first step of many. Building on the successful use of ICB, C.J.P. developed the Biology 112 (macroscopic) semester using the ICB approach and taught it for the first time in Spring 2012. Taking the full intent of ICB a step further, A.M.C. and C.J.P. are team-teaching a two-semester introductory biology sequence during the 2012–2013 academic year that integrates the “small biology” and “big biology” scale for each of the five “big ideas.” This new, yearlong course, Biology 113 and 114, will sequentially span all 25 chapters of the ICB textbook in order and will demonstrate to students the size-independent nature of biology's big ideas. Along with this new course, the two instructors will employ new labs that allow students to further explore the big ideas across the size scales. These labs are inquiry-based and guide students through student-led discovery of key concepts and skills. Students will develop their own hypotheses and design their own experiments to produce, analyze, and interpret their own original data. In addition, the ICB authors have sent sample chapters to colleagues at many different colleges and universities to gather student and faculty feedback. These reviews will be incorporated into the ICB manuscript for publication in the near future.

In conclusion, the ICB textbook enhances student gains in key biology competencies that most educators agree are critically important, without sacrificing content knowledge (AAAS, 2011). ICB students also developed a more realistic and nuanced view of their own abilities and of the discipline of biology, while making meaningful connections between seemingly disparate ideas and transferring their critical thinking gains to other courses. We predict that the faculty testing sample chapters will find ICB to be more rewarding than a traditional textbook. ICB facilitates guiding students through the data analysis and interpretation, an approach that we suspect most instructors will prefer to speeding through encyclopedic volumes of facts. ICB encourages the kind of thinking and learning that biology faculty engage in regularly when conducting research and may attract and nurture the next generation of scholars. A large body of literature supports the use of both active-learning techniques and constructivist approaches in science courses (reviewed in AAAS, 2011). ICB achieved the reported learning gains in this study without the use of active-learning methods. The only difference between the two student populations in this study was the way content was presented in the text and lectures and the extent to which critical thinking and knowledge construction were required. Presumably, even greater learning gains could be achieved with the inclusion of active-learning approaches used in conjunction with the ICB textbook.


The Sexual Paradox

By Susan Pinker

Very contentious stuff. On to Susan Pinker, The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Difference Between the Sexes.

Pinker pursues the same issue as Browne does, but from a slightly different perspective. While the legal scholar Kingsley R Browne advances his argument with court cases, legal precedents, and government statistics, the clinical psychologist Susan Pinker weaves her tales with client case studies, personal experiences and vivid anecdotes.

Pinker returns to Baron-Cohen’s theme of the evolved sex difference in male and female brains. Men’s greater tendency toward systemising, when expressed in extreme form, can render them clinically suffering from autism, Asperger’s syndrome and other disabilities that hinder their abilities to communicate with and relate to others. Pinker points out that boys and men are in general far more fragile and suffer from a far greater number of illnesses, conditions, and syndromes than women do. Men, not women, are the weaker sex.

What’s interesting about the tales that Pinker tells in her book is that, despite these disabilities and clinical conditions, many of the men who suffer from them nonetheless manage to pursue successful careers, by working around and sometimes even taking advantage of their disabilities. In sharp contrast, Pinker also tells tales of gifted, intelligent women with promising careers, who nonetheless drop out of the rat race to spend more time with their families. Pinker’s book puts names, personal anecdotes and intimate stories behind the court cases and statistics that Browne discusses in his book, and demonstrates that women indeed do have much better things to do than make money. They’re called life.


Two types of methods are employed to conserve biodiversity. They are- In situ conservation and Ex-situ conservation.

In situ Conservation

In Situ Conservation refers to the preservation and protection of the species in their natural habitat. It means the conservation of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal species. In situ conservation involves the management of biodiversity in the same area where it is found.

In situ, biodiversity conservation has many advantages

It preserves species as well as their natural habitat.

It ensures protection to a large number of populations.

It is economic and a convenient method of conservation

It doesn’t require species to adjust to a new habitat.

Different methods of In-situ conservation include biosphere reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biodiversity hotspots, gene sanctuary, and sacred groves.

These are national governments nominated sites, large areas (often up to 5000 square km) of an ecosystem where traditional lifestyle and natural habitat of the inhabitants of that ecosystem are protected. They are mostly open to tourists and researchers. Example- Sundarban, Nanda Devi, Nokrek, and Manas in India.

National Parks

These are limited reserves maintained by the government for the conservation of wildlife as well as the environment. Human activities are prohibited in national parks and they are solely dedicated to the protection of natural fauna of the area. They mostly occupy an area of 100-500 square km. There are a total of 104 national parks in India, right now. The national parks may even be within a biosphere reserve.

Example- Kanha National Park, Gir National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and so on.

Wildlife Sanctuaries are protected areas meant only for the conservation of wild animals. A few human activities such as cultivation, wood collection, and other forest product collection are allowed here, but they must not interfere with the conservation of the animals. Tourist visits are also allowed in these areas. There are a total of 551 wildlife sanctuaries in India.

Example- Ghana Bird Sanctuary, Abohar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.

Biodiversity Hotspots

A biodiversity hotspot are the areas of conservation where there is strictly a minimum of 1500 species of vascular plants and a habitat that has lost its 70% cover.

Example- The Himalayas, The Western Ghats, The North East, and The Nicobar Islands.

Gene Sanctuary

Gene sanctuary is a conservation area reserved only for plants. India has its only gene sanctuary set up in Garo Hills of Meghalaya for the conservation of wild species of Citrus. Plans to open more such sanctuaries are underway.

Sacred Groves

Sacred Groves are conserved areas for wildlife protected by communities due to religious beliefs. It is mostly a part of the forest where its wildlife is given complete protection.

Ex Situ Conservation

Ex Situ Conservation means conservation of life outside their natural habitat or place of occurrence. It is the method in which part of the population or the entire endangered species is taken from its natural habitat which is threatened and breeding and maintaining of these species take place in artificial ecosystems. These artificial ecosystems could be zoos, nurseries, botanical gardens, etc. The living environments are altered in these conservation sites, so there are fewer survival struggles like scarcity of food, water, or space.

Advantages of Ex Situ Conservation include

Essential life sustaining conditions like climate, food availability, veterinary care can be altered and are under human control.

Artificial breeding methods can be introduced leading to successful breeding and creating many more offspring of the species.

The species can be protected from poaching and population management can be efficiently done.

Gene techniques can be applied to increase the population of the species and they can again be reintroduced into the wild.


Morphology

To identify S. pyogenes in clinical samples, blood agar plates are screened for the presence of β-hemolytic colonies. The typical appearance of S. pyogenes colonies after 24 hours of incubation at 35-37ଌ is dome-shaped with a smooth or moist surface and clear margins. They display a white-greyish color and have a diameter of > 0.5 mm, and are surrounded by a zone of β-hemolysis that is often two to four times as large as the colony diameter. Microscopically, S. pyogenes appears as Gram-positive cocci, arranged in chains (Figure 1).

Figure 1:

Typical appearance of S. pyogenes on sheep-blood agar plates, following 24 hour incubation under aerobic conditions.


Could someone recommend a book for surveying species? - Biology

Kinetoplastid parasites are responsible for a number of serious protozoal diseases with limited treatment options and few commercially available vaccines. Viewed globally, these parasites pose an increasing threat to human health and welfare.

Written by a team of authors active in the field of Leishmania and Trypanosoma research, this volume reviews the current research in kinetoplastid parasites. With an emphasis on cellular and molecular biology, areas covered include epigenetic regulation, cellular defence, manipulation of host macrophages, B lymphocyte response, adhesion and invasion of host tissues, immune evasion, immunotherapy, hemeproteins, phospholipids biosynthesis and DNA topoisomerases. A common theme throughout the book is the identification of new therapeutic targets for drug development.

This timely and up-to-date volume is essential reading for anyone working on kinetoplastid parasites and will also be of interest to parasitologists, immunologists and drug development researchers. All parasitology laboratories should have a copy of this important reference volume.

". provides a detailed account of a number of essential processes in kinetoplastids . I would therefore recommend this book to researchers" from Parasites and Vectors (2018) 11:401

(EAN: 9781910190715 9781910190722 Subjects: [medical microbiology] [parasitology] )