Friday, December 3, 2010

In the Light of Evolution: Essays from the Laboratory and Field

In the Light of Evolution is a collection of essays by leading scientists, and includes essays by science writer Carl Zimmer, historian Janet Browne, and a foreword by journalist David Quammen. As Quammen says in his foreword, the book collects “reports from the field, plainspoken descriptions of lifetime obsessions, hard-earned bits of wisdom, and works in progress, pried loose from some of the most interesting, eminent researchers in evolutionary biology….” It is a book “for readers who are fascinated by evolutionary biology and who desire to understand better the day-by-day, speciesby-species, ecosystem-by-ecosystem texture of its practice as a scientific profession.” The book is intended for anyone with an interest in evolution, and it can be used in a wide variety of courses, including major's and non-major's introductory biology and evolution classes.

About the Author

Jonathan Losos is Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America at Harvard University. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution and the David Starr Jordan Prize from the American Society of Naturalists. He is the author of Lizards in the Evolutionary Tree: Ecology, Evolution, and Adaptive Radiation of Anolis (University of California Press).

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Quammen
Charles Darwin: Traveller, Author, and Naturalist by Janet Browne
Darwin in the Pumpkin Patch or Bay Area Travels with Charlie by James Curtsinger
Darwin Under the Microscope: Witnessing Evolution In Microbes by Carl Zimmer
Four Legs Good, Two Legs Fortuitous: Brains, Brawn, and the Evolution of Human Bipedalism by Daniel Lieberman
Detective Work in the West Indies: Integrating Historical and Experimental Approaches to Study the Evolutionary Diversification of Island Lizards by Jonathan B. Losos
Patterns, Process, and the Parable of the Coffeepot Incident: Arms Races Between Newts and Snakes from Landscapes to Molecules by Edmund D. Brodie, III
The Herbivore’s Dilemma: Never Enough Nitrogen by Naomi E. Pierce and Andrew Berry
My Island Life by Luke Harmon
Diversity in the Weapons of Sexual Selection: Horn Evolution in Dung Beetles by Douglas Emlen
Sex, Society, and Peacock Tails: Sexual Selection from Darwin to Modern Times by Marlene Zuk and Teri Orr
Sexual Selection: A Tutorial from the TĂșngara Frog by Michael J. Ryan
Guppies and the Empirical Study of Adaptation by David Reznick
O Sting, Where Is Thy Death? The Evolution of Altruism by David Queller
King Midas and His Many Extremely Young Species: Studies on Speciation in Crater Lake Cichlid Fishes in Nicaragua by Axel Meyer
From Darwin to DNA: The Genetic Basis of Color Adaptations by Hopi E. Hoekstra
Fossil Discovery and the Origin of Tetrapods by Ted Daeschler and Neil Shubin
Longhorns, Whitetails, and the Evolution of “Wild” by Harry W. Greene


"In the Light of Evolution is exactly what both other scientists and the public need in the quest for understanding of this vitally important subject: a dispatch from the front, by scientists directly engaged in research on evolution, accompanied by a leading historian and the most knowledgeable journalists."
—Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University and author of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.

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