Offering extensive information on the microscopic invertebrates known as the tardigrades or water bears, this volume begins with a chapter on the history of tardigrades, from the first description by Goeze in 1773, until 1929, when the most comprehensive monographic approach by E. Marcus was published. Tardigrades' organ systems, including their integument, body cavity, digestive, muscular, nervous and reproductive systems, as well as their overall external morphology, are summarized in the second chapter. Subsequent chapters present the current state of knowledge on tardigrade phylogeny, biogeography, paleontology, cytology and cytogenetics. In addition, Water Bears: The Biology of Tardigrades provides insights into the ecology of tardigrades in marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. The reproduction, development and life cycles are summarized and the extraordinary environmental adaptations of encystment and cyclomorphosis, desiccation tolerance, freezing tolerance and radiation tolerance are discussed in detail. Further chapters provide an overview of key approaches in molecular tardigrade studies and describe techniques for sampling and sample processing. The book closes with a list of tardigrade taxa up to a sub-generic level, including the type species of each genus, the numbers of lower taxa in each taxon, and the main environments in which the taxa were found.
Given its depth of coverage, the volume offers an invaluable resource for scientists from various disciplines who plan to research tardigrades, and for all others who are interested in these fascinating animals.
- From Johann August Ephraim Goeze to Ernst Marcus - A Ramble through the History of Early Tardigrade Research (1773 until 1929)
- Morphology and Functional Anatomy
- Phylogeny and integrative taxonomy of Tardigrada
- Tardigrade Biogeography
- Paleontology and molecular dating
- Cytology and Cytogenetics