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This book is a comprehensive guide to the natural history of the North Slope, the only Arctic tundra in the United States. The first section provides detailed information on climate, geology, landforms, and ecology. The second provides a guide to the identification and natural history of the common animals and plants and a primer on the human prehistory of the region from the Pleistocene through the mid-twentieth century. The appendix provides the framework for a tour of the natural history features along the Dalton Highway, a road connecting the crest of the Brooks Range with Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean, and includes information about mile markers where travelers may safely pull off to view geologic formations, plants, birds, mammals, and fish. Featuring hundreds of illustrations that support the clear, authoritative text, Land of Extremes reveals the Arctic tundra as an ecosystem teeming with life.
Alexander Huryn is a freshwater ecologist and a committed field naturalist who has worked extensively in the Smoky Mountains, New Zealand, Panama, the Alaska Arctic, and Iceland. John Hobbie is a senior scholar at the Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He is a founding researcher of the Toolik Field Station in Alaska and former director of the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research Project there.
"This comprehensive account and guide to the biology and natural history of Alaska's North Slope contains wonderful and authoritative detail of practically every animal and plant species, the geology, and the human history of a fascinating part of Earth [...] I have been visiting and doing research on the North Slope for twenty-five years, yet I learned something new on almost every page."
- Brian Barnes, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
"The most successful sourcebook that I know of for an introduction to the natural history of Alaska's northernmost terrestrial and aquatic regional systems. That is, its materials provide natural history students with a reference that abounds with insights into the workings of organisms in our challenging (and challenged) environments."
- David W. Norton, American Polar Society"