Animal Migration: Remarkable Journeys in the Wild.
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Subject:||Books (Book reviews)|
|Publication:||Name: The American Biology Teacher Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 National Association of Biology Teachers ISSN: 0002-7685|
|Issue:||Date: Feb, 2010 Source Volume: 72 Source Issue: 2|
|Topic:||NamedWork: Animal Migration: Remarkable Journeys in the Wild (Nonfiction work)|
|Persons:||Reviewee: Hoare, Ben|
Animal Migration: Remarkable Journeys in the Wild. By Ben Hoare.
2009. University of California Press (ISBN 978-0-520-25823-5). 176
pages. Hardcover. $34.95.
Many animals move great distances over the course of a year. This vast range of creatures and movements is highlighted in Ben Hoare's lovely book on animal migration. Hoare presents a fascinating diversity of land, water, and air migrants through text, photographs, maps, and diagrams.
Animal Migration is organized into several sections. Initial pages address the basic definition of migration and reasons for migrations as animals search for food and mates. Questions of how animals navigate are presented (birds' use of star and sun compasses, sharks' use of magnetism, and whales' use of sound, to name a few), together with data and study techniques. The question of how animals time their migrations is addressed, as well as how animals prepare to survive their journeys (some whales double their body weight before embarking on their long fast of breeding and migration, and birds and butterflies reduce their reproductive organs to nonfunctional remnants in preparation for their flight). The origins of migration are discussed, with the very interesting suggestion that many migrants started with much shorter journeys that have grown as continents have moved and climate has changed. Several pages examine the sobering threats to migrations: the "growing dangers" of monoculture agriculture, artificial obstacles and broken landscapes, and, most significantly, the global danger of the effects of climate change. Most of the book is devoted to presenting the migrants themselves.
Over fifty migrants are presented. Each two-page spread includes a small "Migration Profile" box (including the scientific name, a description of the migration route, the journey length, and suggested places and times to watch the migration), a map of the migration, and pictures of the animal, its movement, and its habitat. Well-written descriptions discuss in more detail related aspects of the migrations, including physiological adaptations and challenges. Many of the great well-known migrants are presented: Artic terns, wildebeests, whales, and albatrosses. The descriptions of the lesswell-known migrations, and particularly the invertebrates, are part of what makes this book so fascinating: Christmas Island red crabs, monarch butterflies, and dragonflies, among others. Vivid presentations showcase the migrants and their gatherings; the book as a whole is a visual treat. The descriptions of the Australian giant cuttlefish gathering by the thousands to breed off the southern coast of Australia (5 feet in length and up to 30 pounds, flashing "iridescent reddish-purple, yellow and greenish-blue") made me want to drop everything and buy a ticket to Spencer Gulf for next September.
Writing style, layout, photographs, and other visual presentations are excellent throughout. The only criticism of this book is probably a minor error of editing, although an alarming one, during the discussion of animals using a sun compass as a navigation tool, which confidently states that "the sun is an ideal visual reference: every day it rises in the west and sets in the east...." No other errors were noted, and readers should not be deterred. A strong point particularly recommending this book is its emphasis not only on individual migrants, but on the place of each organism as a part of an ecological system. Overall, this is an excellent and beautiful book that would be a fine addition to any school or personal library, to be enjoyed by any student of science, zoology, or ecology.
Providence, RI 02906
ELIZABETH COWLES, DEPARTMENT EDITOR
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