Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Amphibians

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Amphibians are the extant descendants of the first vertebrate class to successfully colonize terrestrial environments; hence they occupy a unique position between fish and reptiles. Amphibian skin provides essentially no resistance to evaporative water loss, and consequently daily water turnover rates are an order of magnitude greater than in other terrestrial vertebrate groups. This has led to a suite of physiological, morphological and behavioural adaptations that have allowed a successful terrestrial existence in spite of this apparently spendthrift water retention strategy.

Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Amphibians provides a synthesis of current research on the comparative physiology of amphibians with a particular emphasis on water balance. It adopts a strong environmental perspective and includes a wealth of information on ecology, phylogeny and development. As with other books in the Ecological and Environmental Physiology Series, the emphasis in this book is on the unique physiological characteristics of the amphibians, although the latest experimental techniques and future research directions are also considered. This accessible text is suitable for both graduate students and researchers in the fields of amphibian comparative physiology and physiological ecology, including specialist courses in amphibian ecology. It will also be of value and use to the many professional herpetologists requiring a concise overview of the topic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Amphibians is an important and significant resource, with an excellent review of the state of our current understanding of amphibian physiology, particularly with regard to water balance. The book is valuable to physiologists and to those amphibian biologists whose research focuses on water exchange."—Bioscience

"This book is full with detailed information that should make it a key reference for amphibian biologists."—The Quarterly Review of Biology

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stan Hillman is Professor and Chair of Biology at Portland State University. He obtained is Ph.D. in 1977 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of many papers on aspects of the osmotic, metabolic and cardiovascular physiology of amphibians from three continents.

Philip Withers is Professor of Zoology at the University of Western Australia. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of over 200 publications on the physiology and ecology of vertebrates, and has extensive research experience with metabolic, osmotic and cardiovascular physiology of amphibians from four continents. He is the author of textbooks on Comparative Animal Physiology.

Robert Drewes is Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of over 70 papers and two books on aspects of amphibian taxonomy, distributions and environmental physiology from species spanning there continents. He brings the taxonomic expertise so important in phylogenetic analyses of variation as well as an incredible field experience of the African amphibian fauna; he curates one of the largest museum collections of African amphibians and reptiles in the world.

Stan Hillyard is Professor of Biology at the University of Nevada, Los Vegas. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of over 50 papers on aspects of the control of cutaneous water and ion absorption in amphibian skin. He has a unique background in the utilization of amphibians as model systems for general physiology, with a strong appreciation for grounding in environmental relevance. He also has extensive experience with researchers and the amphibian fauna of Europe.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction.
2. General Physiological Principles.
3. Specialized Physiological Characteristics of Amphibia.
4. Physiological Adaptations to Extreme Environments.
5. Approaches and Techniques.
6. Conclusions and Future Directions.

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