The mystique of the rain forest has captured the imaginations of generations of young people, explorers, authors, and biologists. It is a delicate ecosystem whose myriad sounds and smells, whose vibrancy of life, is balanced by constant cycles of death and decay. It is a place of fierce competition where unusual partnerships are forged and creative survival strategies are the norm. In this book, you will meet the scientific pioneers who first attempted to quantify and understand the vast diversity of these tropical forests, as well as their successors, who utilize modern tools and technologies to dissect the chemical nature of rain forest interactions.
This book provides a general background on biodiversity and the study of chemical ecology before moving into specific chemical examples of insect defenses and microbial communication. It finishes with first-hand accounts of the trials and tribulations of a canopy biology pioneer and a rain forest research novice, while assessing the state of modern tropical research, its importance to humanity, and the ecological, political, and ethical issues that need to be tackled in order to move the field forward.
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