A textbook for an upper-division undergraduate course in the subject, with supplementary material to squeak by as a graduate text, and much more information than could be taught in a single term. Indeed, each of the three parts, or any two, could be used as the basis for a focused course. They cover the production, transmission, and reception of signals; optimizing information transfer; and game theory and signaling strategies. The types of communication described include aural, visual, chemical, and electrical. The treatment draws from physics, chemistry, algebra, physiology, economics, and evolutionary biology. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
I read this book as an interested non-professional naturalist. Animal Communication is an excellent introduction to a fascinating topic. The reader gains both an appreciation for the complexity of animal communication and the knowledge to understand the basics. Broadly, the book covers the following aspects of animal communication: 1) The evolution and economics of communication 2) How animals send, receive and process information, including the tools used to produce signals (visual, auditory, chemical, and tactile) 3) The social impact of communication, in social networks and unions ranging from courtship and mating to complex societies Note that this is no coffee-table book. It is an undergraduate-level textbook and chock-full of information. Yet in my opinion Animal Communication is an excellent book for laypersons of all backgrounds. It is a scientific work, but it is written at a level that permits nonscientists to use it as a solid foundation of learning and knowledge. Technical aspects are explained clearly and concisely, and each topic is covered thoroughly and effectively. There are plenty of tools and guidance for the interested reader to learn more, such as web topics and a large, comprehensive bibliography. However the more casual reader can stick to the basics and not feel overwhelmed. The non-scientist will be able to easily grasp the key concepts and apply them to the larger picture of animal communication. And the naturalist will gain a greater appreciation for the natural world, through better understanding of the conversations going on all around us. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in animal communication.
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