Skip to main content

Books by School of Life Sciences faculty

August 31, 2009

Charles Perrings, professor in the School of Life Sciences and co-director of the ecoSERVICES group in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has edited the four-volume collection Ecological Economics, which covers the origins and development of the field of ecological economics. Volume I, released in 2008 by Sage Press, London, traces the roots of the field by identifying the sources of key ideas in the two hundred years before the term ecological economics was coined. It argues that most important progenitors of the field were Thomas Malthus, John Stewart Mill, Charles Darwin, Harold Hotelling and Scott Gordon. Volume II examines the way in which ecological economists model coupled ecological-economic systems. It covers the structure of the joint system, the feedbacks between the economic and ecological components, the (spatial) dynamics of the system, and the impact of alternative institutions on the management and control of the ecological component of the system. Volume III focuses on the economics of ecosystem services, and includes critical contributions on the value of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and the derivation that value from people’s willingness to pay for final goods and services. Volume IV concentrates on the development and implementation of the concept of sustainability. It includes both important baseline documents, such as the Brundtland Report, and later attempts to explore both the theory and practice of sustainable management of coupled ecological-economic systems. Perrings is a past president of the International Society for Ecological Economics and is the 2008 winner of the Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award for his contributions in this area.


Editors Juliet Stromberg, associate professor in ASU School of Life Sciences, and Barbara Tellman’s (University of Arizona) publication "The Ecology and Conservation of the San Pedro" examines one of the last undammed perennial rivers in the Southwest and illustrates important processes common to many desert riparian ecosystems. Although historic land uses and climatic extremes have led to aquifer depletion, river entrenchment and other changes, the river still sustains a rich and varied selection of life. Resilient to many factors, portions of the San Pedro have become increasingly threatened by groundwater pumping and other impacts of population growth. An interdisciplinary team of 57 contributors – biologists, ecologists, geomorphologists, historians, hydrologists, lawyers, political scientists – weave together threads from their diverse perspectives to reveal the processes that shape the past, present and future of the San Pedro’s riparian and aquatic ecosystems. They review the biological communities, stream hydrology and geomorphology, then look at conservation and management challenges along three sections of the San Pedro. From the headwaters in Mexico to its confluence with the Gila River, the authors describe the legal and policy issues and their interface with science; as well as activities related to mitigation, conservation and restoration; and a prognosis of the potential for sustaining the basin’s riparian system, as well as important lessons for restoring physical processes and biotic communities to rivers in arid and semiarid regions. (excerpt from publisher: University of Arizona, 2009).


"Arizona Wildlife: The Territorial Years 1863-1912" is a book about the history and future of Arizona’s wildlife and a sequel to "Man and Wildlife in Arizona." "Arizona Wildlife" continues the true story of wildlife in early Arizona told through the historic accounts of scientists and settlers, hunters and history makers. Editors Dave E. Brown, faculty associate in the School of Life Sciences, Neil Carmony, Harley Shaw and the late W. L. Minckley’s work chronicles from 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the law creating Arizona Territory until statehood in 1912 and investigates the pursuits and concerns of Arizona’s pioneers to the evolution of game laws, introduction of cattle and non-native fish – a saga of the territory’s wildlife as it happened (excerpt from publisher: Arizona Game and Fish, 2009).


It has become commonplace these days to speak of “unpacking” texts. "Voice and Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Nonfiction" is a book about packing that prose in the first place. While history is scholarship, it is also art – that is, literature. Stephen Pyne proffers "Voice and Vision" for those who wish to understand the ways in which literary considerations can enhance nonfiction writing. Pyne is an author of more than 20 books on subjects that range from the history of fire and exploration, from ships to space, to first-hand accounts on the rim of the Grand Canyon to Antarctica. Pyne explores the many ways to understand what makes good nonfiction, and explains how to achieve it. His experience and insight show that “while nonfiction has no need to emulate fiction, slump into memoir, or become self-referential text, its composition does need to be conscious and informed” and can illuminate the way to make one’s nonfiction soar.


Editor Ben A. Minteer’s book "Nature in Common? Environmental Ethics and the Contested Foundations of Environmental Policy," published by Temple University Press, brings together leading environmental thinkers to debate a central conflict within environmental philosophy: Should we appreciate nature mainly for its ability to advance our interests or should we respect it as having a good of its own, apart from any contribution to human well being? An assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences Minteer has collected 14 essays and created a seminal volume with contributions from some of the most respected scholars in the field, including Donald Brown, J. Baird Callicott, Andrew Light, Holmes Rolston III, Laura Westra and many others. Although "Nature in Common?" will be especially useful for students and professionals studying environmental ethics and philosophy, it will engage any reader who is concerned about the philosophies underlying contemporary environmental policies (excerpt from Temple University Press, 2009).


For more than 350 million years, thousands of species of amphibians have lived on earth; but since the 1980s, they have been disappearing at an alarming rate, in many cases quite suddenly and mysteriously. What is causing these extinctions? What role do human actions play in them? What do they tell us about the overall state of biodiversity on the planet? In "Extinction in Our Times: Global Amphibian Decline," James Collins, professor in the School of Life Sciences, and Martha Crump explore these pressing questions and many others as they document the first modern extinction event across an entire vertebrate class, using global examples that range from the Sierra Nevada of California to the rainforests of Costa Rica and the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Joining scientific rigor and vivid storytelling, this book is the first to use amphibian decline as a lens through which to see more clearly the larger story of climate change, conservation of biodiversity, and a host of profoundly important ecological, evolutionary, ethical, philosophical and sociological issues. The book has been published by Oxford University Press, 2009.


"Form and Function in Developmental Evolution," published by Cambridge University Press, represents a new effort to understand very old questions about biological form, function and the relationships between them. Editors Manfred D. Laubichler and Jane Maienschein, professors in the School of Life Sciences, have collected essays that reflect the diversity of approaches in evolutionary developmental biology (Evo Devo), including not only studies by prominent scientists whose research focuses on topics concerned with evolution and development, but also historically and conceptually oriented studies that place the scientific work within a larger framework and ask how it can be pushed further. Topics under discussion range from the use of theoretical and empirical biomechanics to understand the evolution of plant form, to detailed studies of the evolution of development and the role of developmental constraints on phenotypic variation. The result is a rich and interdisciplinary volume that will begin a wider conversation about the shape of Evo Devo as it matures as a field.


In this landmark volume, "Organization of Insect Societies: From Genome to Sociocomplexity," edited by School of Life Sciences professors Jürgen Gadau and Jennifer Fewell – with a foreword by Edward O. Wilson – an international group of scientists from fields of molecular biology, evolutionary genetics, neurophysiology, behavioral ecology and evolutionary theory synthesize their collective expertise and insight into a newly unified vision of insect societies and what they can reveal about how sociality has arisen as an evolutionary strategy. Published by Harvard University Press, this homage to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and researcher Bert Hölldobler, professor in the School of Life Sciences, will have broad-ranging significance to those interested in social evolution and complex systems.