Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare: An Ecologist's Perspective

Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare: An Ecologist's Perspective


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First published in 1979, Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare has established itself as a seminal work in ecology. Now with a new foreword by ecologist and writer Cristina Eisenberg, this penetrating study of ecosystems and animal populations is more relevant than ever. What accounts for the many different species of insect? Why does the robin population stay relatively steady year after year, despite the fact that their nests contain several chicks at once? Paul Colinvaux traces the ecologist's quest to answer these questions and more in this accessibly written book. He brings to the subject both profound knowledge and an enthusiasm that will encourage a greater understanding of the environment and of the efforts of those who seek to preserve it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691178080
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Series: Princeton Science Library , #56
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Paul A. Colinvaux (1930–2016) was an ecologist and professor emeritus at Ohio State University. His books include The Fate of Nations, Ecology, and Amazon Expeditions: My Quest for the Ice Age Equator. Cristina Eisenberg is chief scientist at the Earthwatch Institute and the author of The Wolf's Tooth and The Carnivore Way.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Princeton Science Library Edition vii

Preface xiii

Prelude 3

1 The Science That Reasons Why 5

2 Every Species Has Its Niche 10

3 Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare 18

4 The Efficiency of Life 32

5 The Nation States of Trees 47

6 The Social Lives of Plants 63

7 Cycles: A Lesson from Farming 74

8 Why the Sea Is Blue 82

9 The Ocean System 89

10 The Regulation of the Air 97

11 The Curious Incident of the Lake in the Now Time 108

12 The Succession Affair 117

13 Peaceful Coexistence 136

14 What Hunting Animals Do 150

15 The Social Imperatives of Space 162

16 Why There Are So Many Species 183

17 The Stability in Nature 199

18 The People's Place 212

Postlude 234

Ecological Reading 239

Index 247

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A mind-tingling survey . . . of the many factors involved in the interrelationships of all living things…. An incisive and stirring book, and a model of scientific explanation."New Yorker

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