246 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, maps
This book distinguishes the diverse marsupial group from other mammals and places it in its geographic context. It covers all species in Australia and draws together many unique biological traits that characterise these marsupials. We see how marsupials interact with each other and with other living things, and how they survive in the adverse conditions of the Australian continent; they often modify their environment to make it more suitable for themselves, and their impacts can be startling. The tangled interactions of marsupials and people are also examined. Marsupials are integral components of the natural environment and of human endeavour in Australia and A Fragile Balance makes a compelling case for a new, more inclusive attitude towards them. Six notable species are highlighted in feature pages, and the text is completed with thumbnail accounts of all species of Australian marsupials, outlining size, distinguishing features, distribution and key aspects of their biology.
This new edition has been updated to include new species and changes in conservation status that have been recognised since the first edition, and the new text reflects all relevant research in the interim.
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Chris Dickman gained his PhD from the Australian National University in 1984, and spent several years working at the University of Oxford and the University of Western Australia before arriving in Sydney in 1989. The major focus of his research is the investigation of factors that influence the distribution and abundance of terrestrial vertebrates. For the last twenty years his primary focus has been to elucidate, by observation and field experiment, the factors that regulate vertebrate diversity in arid Australia.