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This volume provides an accessible scientific introduction to the historical geography of Tropical Pacific Islands, assessing the environmental and cultural changes they have undergone and how they are affected currently by these shifts and alterations. The book emphasizes the roles of plants, animals, people, and the environment in shaping the tropical Pacific through a cross-disciplinary approach involving history, geography, biology, environmental science, and anthropology. With these diverse scientific perspectives, the eight chapters of The Geography, Nature and History of the Tropical Pacific and its Islands provide a comprehensive overview of Tropical Pacific Islands from their initial colonization by native peoples to their occupation by colonial powers, and the contemporary changes that have affected the natural history and social fabric of these islands.
The Tropical Pacific Islands are introduced by a description of their geological formation, development, and geography. From there, the book details the origins of the island's original peoples and the dawn of the political economy of these islands, including the domestication and trade of plants, animals, and other natural resources. Next, readers will learn about the impact of missionaries on Pacific Islands, and the affects of Wold War II and nuclear testing on natural resources and the health of its people. The final chapter discusses the islands in the context of natural resource extraction, population increases, and global climate change. Working together these factors are shown to affect rainfall and limited water resources, as well as the ability to sustain traditional crops, and the capacity of the islands to accomodate its residents.
1. An Introduction to Tropical Pacific Islands
2. Populating the Pacific
3. Island Exploration During the Age of Discovery
4. Atolls, Islands and the Political Economy of Fertilizer
5. The Great Pacific Exchange
6.The Impact of Missionaries: Their Role in Shaping Island History and Culture
7. Sorting and Reshuffling the Pacific Islands in War and in the Nuclear Age
8. Islands in the Age of Global Warming
Dr. Walter M. Goldberg is an Emeritus Professor and Chairman of the Honors Program in Biological Sciences at Florida International University. He held the position of Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences from 1988-2012 and in 1972, at age 27, he was one of the original ten faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences as an Assistant Professor. He has a Masters in Zoology from Florida Atlantic University, and a PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences. In 1978 he began his own consulting firm Coral Reef Associates, Inc., which focused on working with various Florida departments of natural resources to assess the impacts of beach restoration and reef damage assessments. He has been published in several leading journals in the fields of marine biology and oceanography, and is currently researching coral biology, histology, and cytochemistry.