Super Species: The Creatures That Will Dominate the Planet

Super Species: The Creatures That Will Dominate the Planet

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by Garry Hamilton
     
 

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A gripping examination of invasive species' impact.

Super species are the phenomenally successful invasive life-forms that are dominating ecosystems. These animals, plants and microbes have spread far from their native habitats, most often as a result of human activities.

The key to super species' success is their ability to adapt

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Overview

A gripping examination of invasive species' impact.

Super species are the phenomenally successful invasive life-forms that are dominating ecosystems. These animals, plants and microbes have spread far from their native habitats, most often as a result of human activities.

The key to super species' success is their ability to adapt quickly. Super species may be unusually aggressive, difficult to kill, unfazed by the presence and activity of humans, capable of astonishingly rapid rates of growth and reproduction, exceptionally tolerant of pollution or, in many cases, all of the above!

Author Garry Hamilton profiles the 20 super species that are having the greatest impact in our world today, including:

  • Feral pigs-- relentless boars that are trampling across Europe, North America and Australia
  • Bullfrogs -- predatory amphibians that are endangering native frog populations
  • Jellyfish -- spineless wonders that are dominating the world's oceans
  • C. difficile -- potentially deadly microbes that flourish in human intestines
  • Brown tree snakes -- unusually vicious reptiles that have overrun Guam and are now infiltrating America
  • Argentine ants -- aggressive insects capable of forming super-colonies spanning thousands of miles
  • Humboldt squid -- gigantic beasts that hunt in packs of several hundreds

The author also examines the opposing views of top ecologists who are studying this global phenomenon. While some of these experts view invasive species as a threat to biodiversity that costs humans millions of dollars, others believe these creatures may simply be nature's way of restoring ecological vibrancy in the wake of human-mediated destruction.

Whether good or bad, the life-forms in Super Species are the current winners in nature's ruthless process of natural selection.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Nancy Bent
Alien invaders" brings to mind the B-movies of the 1950s and 1960s, as creatures from other worlds came to Earth with conquest on their minds, only to be defeated at the end of the film by a stalwart band of heroes. In reality, alien invasions are occurring all over the planet on a daily basis as humans travel around the globe, bringing animals and plants with them... Many have adapted so well to the heavily modified world that humans--probably the archetypal "invasive species"--have created what can justifiably be called super species. Hamilton...examines 20 of the most successful invasive species. Well-known animals, such as the Easter gray squirrel and the American bullfrog, are shown to be integral parts of their home ecosystems but aggressive "bullies" when transplanted elsewhere. Water hyacinths proliferate in any warm freshwater environment and clog waterways but are also highly effective at water purification. Hamilton discusses the dangers of invasive species but also points out that many have a positive side.
Frogs Are Green blog
Garry Hamilton details the fascinating stories of the species that seem to have won the natural selection sweepstakes...But his tone isn't hysterical. Some invasive species, like the plant kudzu, he contends, don't actually have much of an impact on local biodiversity despite alarmist news stories. These species may actually be creating a new biosphere from the "rubble of our own destruction.
Science News
In this cautionary tale, a journalist profiles 20 of the invasive organisms that may one day dominate the planet.
The Georgia Straight/straight.com - Martin Dunphy
This examination of 20 worldwide invasive life forms--animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi--that are winners in the race to dominate their new habitat is a sobering account of the potential far-reaching effects of human activity. Some of these "super species" are established.... All of them are potential killers--either of amphibians, shellfish, humans, or other animals displaced by the newcomers' proliferation and aggressiveness--and they make scientists question the validity of even considering some species as "native" when the immigrants seem to be merely correcting imbalances caused by our ongoing ecosystem disturbances. Fascinating entries include the Argentine ant, with megacolonies extending thousands of miles, and the feral pigs that are ripping up huge tracts of the United States, southern B.C and Alberta, Europe, and Australia.
Choice - F. T. Kuserk
The phrase "invasive species" is loaded with many meanings.... organisms that are relentlessly on the march, displacing native species, and causing great ecological damage.... "exotic" or "alien species" ... "introduced species" ... causing significant economic harm. Such "super species," as journalist/author Hamilton calls them, are clearly good competitors. They are usually rapid reproducers and good at dispersal; either they are unfazed by human activity or they actually benefit from it. This book chronicles the success that 20 of these super species have had at either invading new habitats or significantly extending their native ranges. Some, like kudzu and the zebra mussel, are well known. Others, such as the familiar eastern gray squirrel, are usually considered so cute and cuddly that they are not often thought of as being invasive. Well researched and written, with an abundance of excellent photos, this work provides an outstanding, balanced look at this group of species.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic audiences, all levels; general readers.
Calgary Herald
Who better to explain the benefits of swimming and how to treat it as an excellent workout than an Olympian? Greg Whyte does all this and more in his new handbook.... Whyte, a U.K. swimming champion and now a professor of applied sport and science at Liverpool's John Moores University, deals with all aspects of swimming as a fitness discipline for novice and experienced swimmers alike. There is guidance on stroke technique for front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly, tips on diving and flip turns and complete training programs in water and on land. Basically, it covers everything you could possibly need to know about swimming.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770880108
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
12/23/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Garry Hamilton is a journalist and the author of several books, including Arctic Fox: Life at the Top of the World.


by Garry Hamilton

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Super Species: The Creatures That Will Dominate the Planet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because it spaned from the already invasive species that are permently set in place to those that could be a benifit to society if maintained correctly.