Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
, a website that supports local bookstores.
Atlantic Shorelines: Natural History and Ecology
Atlantic Shorelines is an introduction to the natural history and ecology of shoreline communities on the East Coast of North America. Writing for a broad audience, Mark Bertness examines how distinctive communities of plants and animals are generated on rocky shores and in salt marshes, mangroves, and soft sediment beaches on Atlantic shorelines.
The book provides a comprehensive background for understanding the basic principles of intertidal ecology and the unique conditions faced by intertidal organisms. It describes the history of the Atlantic Coast, tides, and near-shore oceanographic processes that influence shoreline organisms; explains primary production in shoreline systems, intertidal food webs, and the way intertidal organisms survive; sets out the unusual reproductive challenges of living in an intertidal habitat, and the role of recruitment in shaping intertidal communities; and outlines how biological processes like competition, predation, facilitation, and ecosystem engineering generate the spatial structure of intertidal communities.
The last part of the book focuses on the ecology of the three main shoreline habitats--rocky shores, soft sediment beaches, and shorelines vegetated with salt marsh plants and mangroves--and discusses in detail conservation issues associated with each of them.
Life and Death of the Salt Marsh
Life and Death of the Salt Marsh is a book that focuses on many aspects of the ecology of the salt marsh. To quote the authors, it is "about the marshes of the East Coast of North America: how they were formed; why they continue to exist; the interplay of plants and animals; and the effect of that influential animal, man." This book does a very thorough job of covering all these topics. It begins with the story of one particular salt marsh, how it formed, what happened to it when colonists first arrived and used it for hay production, and its eventual death after human impact became so great as to prevent marsh recovery. The remainder of the book gives detailed descriptions of the processes and organisms that affect the salt marsh. These include the geology, history of glaciation, plant and animal species, seasons, and topics relating to marsh pollution and conservation. Considering that this book was written in 1969, thirty years ago, it still seems to have good scientific accuracy. It is interesting to look at this book from a historical perspective, especially the sections on conservation. Preservation of marshes is important for many reasons. The main reason for preservation being that a large variety of species rely on salt marshes during part or all of their life cycle. Many of these species are commercially viable and are (or were when the book was written) important to the East Coast economy. The chapter on pollution control was very interesting. It includes discussion of the use of DDT. Most ecologist today have heard of or read Silent Spring and know about the dangers of DDT. Life and Death of the Salt Marsh was written just before Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, and brings up the many dangers and harmful side effects of DDT. Obvious DDT was an area of concern for many people in fields related to ecology in the late 60's. The entire book could be related to many aspects of ecology and is thus relevant to anyone interested in the ecology of salt marshes.
Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
William Warner exhibits his skill as a naturalist and as a writer in this Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the pugnacious Atlantic blue crab and of its Chesapeake Bay territory. This wonderful work contains all you ever wanted to know about the life cycle of one particular kind of crab that lives in Chesapeake Bay (the kind you probably smashed with mallets if you ever went to that area). Surprisingly, for most of its life, the Atlantic blue crab has nothing to do with beer. Taking it for a focus, Warner draws connections with the sea, the rivers, the crab-friendly environment that produced such a wealth of the creatures, and then the people who live from that wealth, the islanders who lived isolated for centuries, but are now firmly within the web of modern life. Warner tells of the marketing of crabs, the catching of other Chesapeake products like oysters, and even of festivals like a Miss Crustacean contest ! You can learn about esoterica like crab pots, the Waterman's Union, the religious heritage of crabbers, and lots more.
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
Providing birders the convenience of portability, Sibley's newest volume breaks down the information in The Sibley Guide to Birds into specific regions (The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America will be published the same month). The guide includes much of the basic information in the Guide to Birds, such as the parts of a bird and general color-coded maps, but focuses most of its attention on birds who make their home east of the Rocky Mountains, such as the Double-crested Cormorant and the Eastern Screech-Owl. The color-coded maps that accompany each bird show where the birds live throughout North America, so that birders in, say, Pennsylvania, will know to look for the Northern Mockingbird in California as well. And, of course, Sibley's beautiful full-colored paintings of birds jump out at every page-even in small format.
A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras
More than 1,000 illustrations, arranged according to visual similarities, show plant and animal species of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. This guide includes information on how to locate each species by geographic range, tidal range, tidal level, season, topography, and climate.