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The overarching goal for the new Second Edition of Ecology was to enhance how the book works as a learning tool for students and as a teaching tool for professors. Toward that end, the authors updated, replaced, or cut sections of the text as appropriate, and added several new pedagogical features. These include:
- Climate Change Connection: Climate change has broad ecological effects with important implications for conservation and ecosystem services. Roughly two-thirds of the Second-Edition chapters include a major climate change example (many of which are new) and students are directed to additional content on the Companion Website. These Climate Change Connections discuss how the example students just read about connects to other levels of the ecological hierarchy, while enriching the student's understanding of ongoing climate change.
- Ecological Toolkit: Many chapters include an Ecological Toolkit that describes ecological "tools" such as aspects of experimental design, remote sensing and GIS, mark-recapture techniques, stable isotope analysis, DNA fingerprinting, etc.
- Error bars have been added to figures where appropriate.
- Figure Legend Questions: Each chapter includes 3-6 Figure Legend Questions, highlighted in color at the end of the legend. These questions encourage students to make sure they understand the figure's content. Questions range from those that test whether students understand the axes or other simple aspects of the figure to those that ask students to evaluate hypotheses.
- Hands-On Problems: This popular feature of the Companion Website asks students to manipulate data, explore mathematical aspects of ecology in more detail, interpret results from real experiments, and analyze simple model systems using simulations. The Second Edition includes both revised and new Hands-On Problems. In choosing topics for the Hands-On Problems, as well as for the In-Class Exercises (see next bullet), the authors have attempted to address common student misconceptions or preconceptions.
- In-Class Exercises: For the Second Edition, a new type of inquiry exercise has been added. These are ready-to-go active teaching and learning problems that can be used in class or as homework. Many are brief, taking about 10 minutes.
1. Introduction: The Web of Life
Unit I. Organisms and Their Environment
2. The Physical Environment
3. The Biosphere
4. Coping with Environmental Variation: Temperature and Water
5. Coping with Environmental Variation: Energy
6. Evolution and Ecology
Unit II. Populations
7. Life History
8. Population Distribution and Abundance
9. Population Growth and Regulation
10. Population Dynamics
Unit III. Interactions among Organisms
12. Predation and Herbivory
14. Mutualism and Commensalism
Unit IV. Communities
15. The Nature of Communities
16. Change in Communities
18. Species Diversity in Communities
Unit V. Ecosystems
20. Energy Flow and Food Webs
21. Nutrient Supply and Cycling
Unit VI. Applied and Large-Scale Ecology
22. Conservation Biology
23. Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Management
24. Global Ecology
Michael L. Cain, having opted to change careers and focus full-time on writing, is currently affiliated with Bowdoin College. After receiving his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, he taught at New Mexico State University and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In addition to his work on this book, Dr. Cain is a coauthor of Campbell's Biology, Ninth Edition. He has instructed students across a wide range of subjects, including introductory biology, ecology, field ecology, evolution, botany, mathematical biology, and biostatistics. His research interests include: plant ecology; long-distance dispersal; ecological and evolutionary dynamics in hybrid zones; and search behavior in plants and animals.
William D. Bowman is Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, affiliated with both the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. He earned his Ph.D. from Duke University. Dr. Bowman has taught courses in introductory ecology, plant ecology, plant-soil interactions, and ecosystems ecology, and for several years has directed undergraduate summer field research programs. He is coeditor of the 2001 book, Structure and Function of an Alpine Ecosystem, Niwot Ridge, Colorado (Oxford University Press). His research focuses on plant ecology, biogeochemistry, and community dynamics.
Sally D. Hacker is Associate Professor at Oregon State University, Corvallis, where she has been a faculty member since 2004. As a community ecologist interested in natural and managed coastal, dune, and estuarine communities, Dr. Hacker's research explores the structures, functions, and services of communities under varying contexts of species interactions and physical conditions. She teaches courses in introductory ecology, community ecology, and marine biology. Dr. Hacker received her Ph.D. in 1996 from Brown University, where she conducted research on the role of positive interactions in communities. This work, conducted in salt marsh systems, has been widely cited and featured in a number of ecology textbooks.
Though there is currently a glut of ecology textbooks on the market, this remains my personal favourite, largely due to its superior coverage of processes at the community, ecosystem and biome levels, and therefore particularly appropriate for biogeographers. Written in an accessible style that stresses key concepts, and filled with colourful illustrations, this will appeal to students and instructors alike. Unsurprisingly given the authorship, a large proportion of the examples are North American, though the range of life forms covered is admirably broad. A plethora of student exercises are available in the book or on the companion website. Highly recommended.
- Markus Eichhorn, "Frontiers of Biogeography"