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Page 93 ï~~2007 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 93 BOOK REVIEWS Mayewski, Paul Andrews and Frank White. 2002. Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. pp 233. ISBN-1-58465-061-3. $19.95 Paperback. The Ice Chronicles are the stories told by the vast annual layers of ice and snow in glaciers and continental ice sheets scattered around our globe, the stories of the climates this world has experienced through the past 110,000 years. [This record is now traced back through the past 740,000 years in the ice cores from Dome C, Antarctica (Nature: 429, 623-628).] Understanding these chronicles gives us a glimpse into how climate has operated in the past and helps us understand its current trends and how we are influencing these trends. In the first four chapters of this book, the authors tell how our civilization has historically viewed climate, as a rather static and invincible part of our world, and how that view has now changed in the past few decades. They relate the story of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2) expedition from its inception as a dream for a more complete record of earth's climate history to its culmination in the collection and analysis of the ice cores. Paul Mayewski, as the chair of the GISP2 project, gives the story a personal touch, allowing the reader to experience the major events of the expedition through his eyes. The authors then explain the major trends in the data collected from these cores and show how they can reconstruct past climate conditions and changes from the chemical composition of the particles and gas bubbles in the ice. Studying the ice cores, they discovered that the climate is not the static, reliable system we once thought. Instead, it is prone to Rapid Climate Change Events (RCCEs), which can produce a significant climate change as quickly as in a few years. These changes are the result of many climate-forcing factors working together. As they look at the RCCEs that occurred during the Holocene, the authors propose these climate changes as factors contributing to the collapse of past colonies and even entire civilizations, such as the Norse colonies in Greenland and the Mayas in Central America. In the last four chapters, the authors take a detailed look at the climate changes during the past thousand years. They explain the trends and indicate that the ice core record shows a significant change in its chemical composition during the post-industrial age. These changes indicate more than just global warming or global cooling. They are evidence of a destabilizing of the climate, setting the stage for increasingly more unpredictable RCCEs in the future. One of the many factors influencing this shift in climate stability, the authors believe, has been the changes humans make to the atmosphere's composition. They also discuss our civilization's response to this idea that humans are helping to change our climate. The authors trace how we have dealt with this question in the past through the avenues of science, politics, and public policy. They propose a way of dealing with this issue: a balance between trying to reduce our impact on the climate, trying to reverse the changes we have already made, and learning to live
Page 94 ï~~94 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 46 with a dynamic, rapidly changing climate system. The authors broaden their plea for a responsible use of and care for this Earth to the many other environmental issues we face today, not just this current global warming issue. They challenge us to learn from our past and use that information to live in a way that minimizes our impact on this planet and allows us to adapt to the naturally occurring climate changes we will face as a civilization. Throughout this book, the authors mix the stories of how the human race has looked at climate and of the current efforts to further understand climate through ice cores with the data that tells us how and why climate changes occur. They explain the science behind the statements many scientists make about global climate change, the politics behind the politicians' opinions about global warming, and the misconceptions and ideas behind many public policies, in a way that an amateur scientist would easily understand. They present a balanced view of the many sides to this issue of global climate change, making sure the reader understands that control of the climate system is based on many factors we do not fully understand. Interspersed through the book are short stories of Paul Mayewski's experiences and the people who have greatly influenced his career. These stories are a delightful look into an explorer and scientist's life. Other inserts are explanations of technical aspects of the quest for an understanding of climate change, which are helpful in understanding the science behind this book. Overall, this is a well-written, easy-to-read book that is packed with information. This book helped me understand the issues behind the global warming controversy more clearly and with a more comprehensive view of the many contributing factors. It is the most balanced, science-based, and reasonable response to the global warming debate I have ever read. Christina Burden, Graduate Student, Biology Department Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 firstname.lastname@example.org Lomolino, Mark V., Riddle, Brett R., & Brown, James H. 2006. Biogeography, 3rd ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. 845 pp. ISBN 978 -0878930623, $92.95 (Hardbound). Biogeography is a title that aptly sums up the scope of this excellent introductory textbook. This new third edition is updated with over 1000 new publications from the field. Science is progressively becoming more interdisciplinary, a fact which this textbook reflects. Biogeography was written for undergraduate students, but is a great resource for anyone interested in the distributions of plants and animals we see today. The text is divided into six units covering major areas of biogeography. The authors begin with a two-chapter unit, Introduction to the Discipline, giving a brief introduction to the field and a history of the development of biogeography as a modemrn scientific discipline. They follow this introduction with a second unit, The Environmental Setting and Basic Biogeographic Patterns, which includes three good background chapters detailing foundational concepts neces
Page 95 ï~~2007 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 95 sary to the study of biogeography. For non-biologists, these chapters are very good summaries of concepts in ecology and geology. The third unit, Earth History and Fundamental Biogeographic Processes, covers the interplay between earth history and biogeographical processes such as dispersal and speciation. This unit includes a very good chapter summarizing what we know about Pleistocene glaciation. Since evolution is a key component of the modemrn field, the authors include a three-chapter unit, Evolutionary History of Lineages and Biotas, on techniques used to unravel evolutionary history. A fifth unit, Ecological Biogeography, covers a range of subjects including island biogeography, areography, ecogeographic rules, and diversity gradients. Finally, Unit 6, Conservation Biogeography and New Frontiers, expands upon biodiversity and extinction, conservation biogeography, and new frontiers of the field. Even though this is a text about biogeography, its style of writing appeals to people of all backgrounds and interests. The authors come from a primarily zoological background, but they include many examples of biogeographic concepts using various kinds of organisms ranging from mammals, to invertebrates, to aquatic organisms, to plants. Since vegetation is a key component of terrestrial biomes, many chapters include botanical examples. For instance, Chapter 10 extensively covers the mapping of biogeographic regions, with many of these maps being based on the distribution of land plants. Chapter 9 develops ideas relating to plants' response to glaciation. Plant examples are sprinkled throughout the entire text. The authors are the first to point out that research in some areas, such as the marine realm, has lagged behind the study of terrestrial areas. They carry this honest view of their field throughout the entirety of the text as they examine all major theories in a critical light, thereby lending to the credibility of the book and science as a whole. Not only do the authors more than adequately cover past and current ideas in biogeography, they present these ideas in a way to stimulate the reader to look beyond what is known. For example, the text not only discusses MacArthur and Wilson's classic Equilibrium Theory of island biogeography, it also presents pros and cons various scientists have advanced and even points out the need for a new theory to encompass biogeographers' subsequent observations. In fact, the authors devote a whole chapter, the last one, to the frontiers of biogeography. This book also includes a very complete glossary of important terms, an extensive bibliography, and an index. In the text, the authors are constantly referring to primary literature, which is reflected in the full 50 pages of two-column bibliographic citations. This is an extremely helpful feature for anyone who wants to investigate the papers behind the ideas presented in the textbook. Inside the book, the illustrations and maps are all grayscale, with the endpapers being the only full-color illustrations in the text. The front endpaper is Wallace's (1876) scheme of biogeographic regions. The back endpaper is a beautiful map of the world illustrating many of the oceanic and terrestrial topographic features covered in the text. The many grayscale illustrations more than make up for the lack of colored graphics. For example, Chapter 9, which covers Pleistocene glaciation, has a table or figure on 38 out of 48 pages. In fact, one of the most
Page 96 ï~~96 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 46 helpful features of this text is the many illustrations, which give real-world examples and greatly aid in understanding key concepts. The reasonable price, relative to other textbooks, belies the wealth of information packed into Biogeography. The text is clear and well-written, full of examples of concepts. Overall, this book is a valuable addition to the reference shelves of those who study and teach biology and would be a fascinating, though more technical, read for anyone interested in understanding the patterns in the diversity of life we see today. Kelly M. McWilliams, Graduate Student, Biology Department Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 email@example.com