A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics / Edition 1

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Every year hundreds of thousands of travelers head for the Tropics to thrill to the raucous call of a howler monkey booming across the emerald cathedral of a rainforest, or to marvel at a brightly colored clown fish gliding fearlessly among the stinging tentacles of a sea anemone on a coral reef. Ranging from South and Central America to Africa, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean, A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics provides engaging overviews of the geology, climate, soils, plants, animals, and major ecosystems of the Tropics. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with color plates, photographs, and drawings.
Whether you're a first-time visitor or a veteran of many trips, this convenient guidebook can help you plan your vacation and serve as a knowledgeable companion to answer the many questions that may arise during the course of your journey. Why are tropical birds and fishes so colorful? What is an atoll, and how do they form? Why are tropical soils red and sterile, while rainforests are lush and green? Why does Madagascar have lemurs but not monkeys? Special features of the book include chapters on the conservation status of the Tropics and how to prepare with "caution without obsession" for tropical dangers such as infectious diseases and charging rhinoceroses.
The first comprehensive introduction to the natural history of the Tropics worldwide, A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics has been completely revised and updated by the author and the translator to reflect the most current information available.

* first field guide in English to cover all the world's tropics, not just specific regions or countries
* more than 350 illustrations, many in color
* sturdy flexibound cover and compact size ideal for travelers
* boxes in text define scientific terms or explore side topics in more detail, such as "What Is Biodiversity?" and "Why Is Tropical Fauna So Colorful?"
* discusses tropical dangers and precautions to cope with them, such as vaccinations to obtain and foods to avoid

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Editorial Reviews

A science journalist affiliated with BirdLife International, UK, overviews tropical ecosystems; offers rules for protecting them; and advises "caution without obsession" for travelers. Habitats, flora, and fauna are lushly illustrated in b&w and color. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Marco Lambertini's A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics is a wonderful text. Targeted to both teachers and students, it provides a stunning amount of practical information in a very transportable size and design. In my travels, I would have liked to have used this book as a good "preread" for my students. The background information on both the biotic and abiotic factors that affect ecosystem of the tropics is complete. The foreword mentions that there is no way that one book could properly capture the biodiversity and complexity of the tropics, and that is true, but if any one text can develop the primary ideas associated with that region, this would be it. Teachers can easily use the book to teach modern ecology and current environmental issues. Students who will never have the opportunity to view the tropics firsthand will possess a better understanding of this disappearing land after reading the text. In short, this book is wonderfully planned concise reference to anyone interested in the tropics. I will use it with my students in the future, both as a "preread" for our naturalist trips and as a teaching tool for my biology classes. Highly Recommended, Grades 7-8, Teaching Professional, General Audience. REVIEWER: Dr. John E. Penick (North Carolina State University)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226468280
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 1,144,243
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Text Boxes and Tables
Photographs and Color Plates
Guide to Reading the Color Plates
Tropical Geography and Biogeography
Continents in Evolution
The Ice Ages
The Climate
Different Climates from the Equator to the Tropics
Scorching Sun and Pelting Rains
Seasonal Winds
The Soils
The Flora
Water, Heat, and Light: The Winning Formula in the Tropics
Analogies and Differences among Continents
The Richest Botany in the World
The Fauna
An Extraordinary Wealth
Great Diversity and Unexpected Look-Alikes
A Thousand Strategies for Survival
Homeland of the Great Fauna
The Nonexistent Mangrove Tree
Original Architecture and Adaptations
The Army of Specialist Crabs
A Fish out of Water . . . or In
The Strategy of Being Amphibian
An Exciting Habitat—An Important Resource
Virgin Forests and Secondary Jungles
Profile of a Tropical Forest
The Ecology of a Green Universe
The Collapse of Giants and the Feast of the Colonizers
A Universe of Fruits and Flowers
Climbers, Lianas, and Epiphytes
The Great Fauna of the Forests
A Fervid Aerial and Arboreal Life
Pollens and Pollinators
Coral Reefs
Reef-Building Corals
Geography of Coral Formations
Barriers, Fringes, and Atolls
Hard Corals, Soft Corals, and Still Others
The Structure of the Reef
Invisible but Indispensable Alage
A Universe of Life among the Corals
Change of Scene from Day to Night
Sands and Beaches
Fire and Rain
Halfway between Desert and Forest
The Kingdom of Grasses and Herbivores
Characteristic, Specialized Fauna
Birds: Flying and Otherwise
Hot and Cold Deserts, Arid and Semiarid Deserts
The Hydric Deficit
Sun, Heat, and Wind
Seas and Waves of Sand
The Difficult Contest for Those Living in the Desert
The Tropics in Peril
Tropical Dangers and Precautions
Caution without Obsession
Dangers with 'Small' Beginnings
Dangers in the Sea
Suggested Reading

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