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This comprehensive book about the lives of bats is about a group of peculiar, mythical and fascinating animals. They are mammals, just like us, but still so different. The book covers bats from Latin American Maya temples to Swedish potato cellars; from the plains of Kenya to the Taiwanese mountains. We perceive their shadows flitting by in the summer nights, hear their mating calls in the darkness of autumn and see their silhouettes in the dim street light. The bats live in our houses and forage in our gardens and parks. But who are they and how do they lead their lives? The text and exquisite photos give an unsurpassed insight into the world of sounds and smells that bats encounter each night. We are told about how their senses, way beyond our human perception abilities, shape their lives. We get to know more about their habits, their long evolution and their cohabitation with humans, and how important they are to the environment. You will never again feel lonely in the darkness of the night.
How did we come to have minds? For centuries, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and physicists have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled abilities. Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind? In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don't just perceive and react, they create and comprehend. An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.
How forty years of research on thirty neurons in the stomach of a lobster has yielded valuable insights for the study of the human brain. Neuroscientist Eve Marder has spent forty years studying thirty neurons on the stomach of a lobster. Her focus on this tiny network of cells has yielded valuable insights into the much more complex workings of the human brain; she has become a leading voice in neuroscience. In Lessons from the Lobster, Charlotte Nassim describes Marder's work and its significance accessibly and engagingly, tracing the evolution of a supremely gifted scientist's ideas. From the lobster's digestion to human thought is very big leap indeed. Our brains selectively recruit networks from about ninety billion available neurons; the connections are extremely complex. Nevertheless, as Nassim explains, Marder's study of a microscopic knot of stomatogastric neurons in lobsters and crabs, a small network with a countable number of neurons, has laid vital foundations for current brain research projects. Marder's approach is as intuitive as it is analytic, but always firmly anchored to data. Every scrap of information is a pointer for Marder; her discoveries depend on her own creative thinking as much as her laboratory's findings. Nassim describes Marder's important findings on neuromodulation, the secrets of neuronal networks, and homeostasis. Her recognition of the importance of animal-to-animal variability has influenced research methods everywhere. Marder has run her laboratory at Brandeis University since 1978. She was President of the Society for Neuroscience in 2008 and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Kavli Award in Neuroscience and the 2013 Gruber Prize in Neuroscience. Research that reaches the headlines often depends on technical fireworks, and especially on spectacular images. Marder's work seldom fits that pattern, but this book demonstrates that a brilliant scientist working carefully and thoughtfully can produce groundbreaking results.
From DNA sequences stored on computer databases to archived forensic samples and biomedical records, bioinformation comes in many forms. Its unique provenance the fact that it is 'mined' from the very fabric of the human body makes it a mercurial resource; one that no one seemingly owns, but in which many have deeply vested interests. Who has the right to exploit and benefit from bioinformation? The individual or community from whom it was derived? The scientists and technicians who make its extraction both possible and meaningful or the commercial and political interests which fund this work? Who is excluded or even at risk from its commercialisation? And what threats and opportunities might the generation of 'Big Bioinformational Data' raise? In this groundbreaking book, authors Bronwyn Parry and Beth Greenhough explore the complex economic, social and political questions arising from the creation and use of bioinformation. Drawing on a range of highly topical cases, including the commercialization of human sequence data; the forensic use of retained bioinformation; biobanking and genealogical research, they show how demand for this resource has grown significantly driving a burgeoning but often highly controversial global economy in bioinformation. But, they argue, change is afoot as new models emerge that challenge the ethos of privatisation by creating instead a dynamic open source 'bioinformational commons' available for all future generations.
The evolution of psychotherapy in the 21st Century demands integration. Instead of choosing from the blizzard of modalities and schools of the past, therapists must move towards finding common denominators amongst them. Similarly, today's psychotherapy necessitates the integration of the mind and body, not the past practice of compartmentalisation of mental health and physical health. This book contributes to the sea change in how we conceptualise mental health problems and their solutions. Mind-Brain-Gene describes the feedback loops between the multiple systems contributing to the emergence of the mind and the experience of the self. It explains how our mental operating networks "self"-organise, drawing from and modifying our memory systems to establish and maintain mental health. Synthesising research in psychoneuroimmunology and epigenetics with interpersonal neurobiology and research on integrated psychotherapeutic approaches, John Arden explores how insecure attachment, deprivation, child abuse and trauma contribute to anxiety disorders and depression to produce epigenetic affects. To help people suffering from anxiety and depression, it is necessary to make sense of the multidirectional feedback loops between the stress systems and the dysregulation of the immune system that lead to those conditions. Successful psychotherapy modifies the feedback loops among the self-maintenance systems. Through the orchestration of the mental operating networks, psychotherapy promotes the re-regulation of immune system functions, stress systems, nutrition, microbiome (gut bacteria), sleep, physical inactivity, affect regulation and cognition. This book makes a strong case for healthcare and psychotherapy to be combined-together they can revolutionise the way we conceive of, and attain, optimal health in the 21st Century.
An introduction to a popular programming language for neuroscience research, taking the reader from beginning to intermediate and advanced levels of MATLAB programming. MATLAB is one of the most popular programming languages for neuroscience and psychology research. Its balance of usability, visualization, and widespread use makes it one of the most powerful tools in a scientist's toolbox. In this book, Mike Cohen teaches brain scientists how to program in MATLAB, with a focus on applications most commonly used in neuroscience and psychology. Although most MATLAB tutorials will abandon users at the beginner's level, leaving them to sink or swim, MATLAB for Brain and Cognitive Scientists takes readers from beginning to intermediate and advanced levels of MATLAB programming, helping them gain real expertise in applications that they will use in their work. The book offers a mix of instructive text and rigorous explanations of MATLAB code along with programming tips and tricks. The goal is to teach the reader how to program data analyses in neuroscience and psychology. Readers will learn not only how to but also how not to program, with examples of bad code that they are invited to correct or improve. Chapters end with exercises that test and develop the skills taught in each chapter. Interviews with neuroscientists and cognitive scientists who have made significant contributions their field using MATLAB appear throughout the book. MATLAB for Brain and Cognitive Scientists is an essential resource for both students and instructors, in the classroom or for independent study.
A beautifully illustrated exploration of the science behind the awe-inspiring giants of past and present
The colossal plants and animals of our world-dinosaurs, whales, and even trees-are a source of unending fascination, and their sheer scale can be truly impressive. Size is integral to the way that organisms experience the world: a puddle that a human being would step over without thinking is an entire world to thousands of microscopic rotifers. But why are creatures the size that they are? Why aren't bugs the size of elephants, or whales the size of goldfish?
In this lavishly illustrated new book, biologist Graeme Ruxton explains how and why nature's giants came to be so big-for example, how decreased oxygen levels limited the size of insects and how island isolation allowed small-bodied animals to evolve larger body sizes. Through a diverse array of examples, from huge butterflies to giant squid, Ruxton explores the physics, biology, and evolutionary drivers behind organism size, showing what it's like to live large.
Can you taste words, feel flavours as a shape, or hear colors? If so you may well have synaesthesia, a neurological condition that gives rise to a 'merging of the senses'. This Very Short Introduction describes synaesthesia's many forms, and delves into the underlying neuroscience. Explaining the scientific basis for synaesthesia, Julia Simner considers how we can measure the effects synaesthesia has on the everyday lives of people living with it. Exploring the fascinating stories of different synaesthetes' experiences of the world, she also discusses the documented links between synaesthesia, childhood development, memory, personality, and artistic creativity, and the potential limitations synaesthesia might impose. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Providing readers with the confidence needed to debate key issues in bioethics, this introductory text clearly explains bioethical theories and their philosophical foundations. Over 250 activities introduce topics for personal reflection, and discussion points encourage students to think for themselves and build their own arguments. Highlighting the potential pitfalls for those new to bioethics, each chapter features boxes providing factual information and outlining the philosophical background, along with detailed case studies that offer an insight into real-life examples of bioethical problems. Within-chapter essay questions and quizzes, along with end-of-chapter review questions, allow students to check their understanding and to broaden their thinking about the topics discussed. The accompanying podcasts by the author (two of whose podcasts on iTunesU (TM) have attracted over 3 million downloads) explain points that might be difficult for beginners. These, along with a range of extra resources for students and instructors, are available at www.cambridge.org/bioethics.
Ecologists, land managers and policymakers continue to search for the most effective ways to manage biological invasions. An emerging lesson is that proactive management can limit negative impacts, reduce risks and save money. This book explores how to detect and respond to alien plant incursions, summarising the most current literature, providing practical recommendations and reviewing the conditions and processes necessary to achieve prevention, eradication and containment. Chapter topics include assessing invasiveness and the impact of alien plants, how to improve surveillance efforts, how to make timely management decisions, and how legislation and strategic planning can support management. Each chapter includes text boxes written by international experts that discuss topical issues such as spatial predictive modelling, costing invasions, biosecurity, biofuels, and dealing with conflict species.
Our closest living relatives are the chimpanzee and bonobo. We share many characteristics with them, but our lineages diverged millions of years ago. Who in fact was our last common ancestor? Bringing together ecology, evolution, genetics, anatomy and geology, this book provides a new perspective on human evolution. What can fossil apes tell us about the origins of human evolution? Did the last common ancestor of apes and humans live in trees or on the ground? What did it eat, and how did it survive in a world full of large predators? Did it look anything like living apes? Andrews addresses these questions and more to reconstruct the common ancestor and its habitat. Synthesising thirty-five years of work on both ancient environments and fossil and modern ape anatomy, this book provides unique new insights into the evolutionary processes that led to the origins of the human lineage.
Harmony is an integral part of our auditory environment. Resonances characterised by harmonic frequency relationships are found throughout the natural world and harmonic sounds are essential elements of speech, communication and, of course, music. Providing neurophysiological data and theories that are suitable to explain the neural code of pitch and harmony, the author demonstrates that musical pitch is a temporal phenomenon and musical harmony is a mathematical necessity based on neuronal mechanisms. Moreover, he offers new evidence for the role of an auditory time constant for speech and music perception as well as for similar neuronal processing mechanisms of auditory and brain waves. Successfully relating current neurophysiological results to the ancient ideas of Pythagoras, this unique title will appeal to specialists in the fields of neurophysiology, neuroacoustics, linguistics, behavioural biology and musicology as well as to a broader audience interested in the neural basis of music perception.
How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon. One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated--there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar--there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. A bold and inspiring synthesis by one of our most accomplished biologists and gifted storytellers, The Serengeti Rules is the first book to illuminate how life works at vastly different scales. Read it and you will never look at the world the same way again.
From the temptation of Eve to the venomous murder of the mighty Thor, the serpent appears throughout time and cultures as a figure of mischief and misery. The worldwide prominence of snakes in religion, myth, and folklore underscores our deep connection to the serpent but why, when so few of us have firsthand experience? The surprising answer, this book suggests, lies in the singular impact of snakes on primate evolution. Predation pressure from snakes, Lynne Isbell tells us, is ultimately responsible for the superior vision and large brains of primates and for a critical aspect of human evolution.
Drawing on extensive research, Isbell further speculates how snakes could have influenced the development of a distinctively human behavior: our ability to point for the purpose of directing attention. A social activity (no one points when alone) dependent on fast and accurate localization, pointing would have reduced deadly snake bites among our hominin ancestors. It might have also figured in later human behavior: snakes, this book eloquently argues, may well have given bipedal hominins, already equipped with a non-human primate communication system, the evolutionary nudge to point to communicate for social good, a critical step toward the evolution of language, and all that followed.
Lakes and reservoirs hold about 90% of the world's surface fresh water, but overuse, water withdrawal and pollution of these bodies puts some one billion people at risk. The Encyclopedia of Lakes and Reservoirs reviews the physical, chemical and ecological characteristics of lakes and reservoirs, and describes their uses and environmental state trends in different parts of the world. Superbly illustrated throughout, it includes some 200 entries in a range of topics, including acidification, artificialisation, canals, climate change effects, dams, dew ponds, drainage, eutrofication, evaporation, fisheries, hydro-electric power, nutrients, organic pollution, paleolimnology, reservoir capacities and depths, sedimentation, water resources and more.
Since modeling multiscale phenomena in systems biology and neuroscience is a highly interdisciplinary task, the editor of the book invited experts in bio-engineering, chemistry, cardiology, neuroscience, computer science, and applied mathematics, to provide their perspectives. Each chapter is a window into the current state of the art in the areas of research discussed and the book is intended for advanced researchers interested in recent developments in these fields. While multiscale analysis is the major integrating theme of the book, its subtitle does not call for bridging the scales from genes to behavior, but rather stresses the unifying perspective offered by the concepts referred to in the title. It is believed that the interdisciplinary approach adopted here will be beneficial for all the above mentioned fields.
"The author makes an eloquent plea for marine biodiversity conservation."--Library Journal"Harvell seems to channel the devotion that motivated the Blaschkas."--The Guardian Winner of the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award, Environment Category It started with a glass octopus. Dusty, broken, and all but forgotten, it caught Drew Harvell's eye. Fashioned in intricate detail by the father-son glassmaking team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the octopus belonged to a menagerie of unusual marine creatures that had been packed away for decades in a storage unit. More than 150 years earlier, the Blaschkas had been captivated by marine invertebrates and spun their likenesses into glass, documenting the life of oceans untouched by climate change and human impacts. Inspired by the Blaschkas' uncanny replicas, Harvell set out in search of their living counterparts. In A Sea of Glass, she recounts this journey of a lifetime, taking readers along as she dives beneath the ocean's surface to a rarely seen world, revealing the surprising and unusual biology of some of the most ancient animals on the tree of life. On the way, we glimpse a century of change in our ocean ecosystems and learn which of the living matches for the Blaschkas' creations are, indeed, as fragile as glass. Drew Harvell and the Blaschka menagerie are the subjects of the documentary Fragile Legacy, which won the Best Short Film award at the 2015 Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit. Learn more about the film and check out the trailer here.
The rate of species and natural habitat loss across our planet is steadily accelerating. This book argues that existing practises of plant conservation are inadequate and firmly supports the placement of ecological restoration at the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. The author unifies different aspects of conservation into one coherent concept, including natural area protection, ex situ conservation and in situ interventions through either population management or ecological restoration. Assisted colonization, experimentation, and utilization of threatened plant species are raised as crucial elements in restoration, with partly novel ecosystems being among its major target areas. Covering a wide spectrum of plant conservation examples, and offering practical methodologies alongside the theoretical context, this is a vital resource for students, research scientists and practitioners in conservation biology and restoration ecology.
This book addresses a growing need for accessible information on the neuroscience of addiction. In the past decade, neuroscientific research has greatly advanced our understanding of the brain mechanisms of addiction. However this information still remains largely confined to scientific outlets. As legislation continues to evolve and the stigma surrounding addiction persists, new findings on the impact of substances on the brain are an important public health issue. Francesca Mapua Filbey gives readers an overview of research on addiction including classic theories as well as current neuroscientific studies. A variety of textual supports - including a glossary, learning objectives and review questions - help students better reinforce their reading and make the text a ready-made complement to undergraduate and graduate courses on addiction.
Updated, with stunning new photographs At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the impossible was delivered. From the sterile depths of a disused china clay pit in Cornwall rose one of the most remarkable and ambitious ventures in recent memory. The Eden Project's Biomes, the world's largest conservatories, are the symbol of a living theatre of plants and people and their interdependence, of regeneration and of a pioneering forum for the exploration of possible futures. This is the extraordinary story of the Eden Project, of its conception, design and construction, of the larger-than-life personalities who made it happen and of all that has happened since its doors were first opened to the public in 2001. It is now undisputedly one of the world's great gardens with more than 17 million visitors flocking there and projects and partnerships all over the world.
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions of life on earth. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. Elizabeth Kolbert combines brilliant field reporting, the history of ideas and the work of geologists, botanists and marine biologists to tell the gripping stories of a dozen species - including the Panamanian golden frog and the Sumatran rhino - some already gone, others at the point of vanishing. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy and Elizabeth Kolbert's book urgently compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Consider the Platypus explores the history and features of more than 50 animals to provide insight into our current understanding of evolution. Using Darwin's theory as a springboard, Maggie Ryan Sandford details scientists' initial understanding of the development of creatures and how that has expanded in the wake of genetic sequencing, including the: Peppered Moth, which changed color based on the amount of soot in the London air;California Two-Spotted Octopus, which has the amazing ability to alter its DNA/RNA not over generations but during its lifetime;miniscule tardigrade, which is so hearty it can withstand radiation, lack of water and oxygen, and temperatures as low as -328 DegreesF and as high 304 DegreesF;and, of course, the platypus, which has so many disparate features, from a duck's bill to venomous spur to mammary patches, that scientists originally thought it was a hoax. Surprising, witty, and impeccably researched, Sandford describes each animal's significant features and how these have adapted to its environment, such as the zebra finch's beak shape, which was observed by Charles Darwin and is a cornerstone of his Theory of Evolution. With scientifically accurate but charming art by Rodica Prato, Consider the Platypus showcases species as diverse as the sloth, honey bee, cow, brown kiwi, and lungfish, to name a few, to tackle intimidating concepts is a accessible way.
Tag-based approaches were originally designed to increase the throughput of capillary sequencing, where concatemers of short sequences were first used in expression profiling. New Next Generation Sequencing methods largely extended the use of tag-based approaches as the tag lengths perfectly match with the short read length of highly parallel sequencing reactions. Tag-based approaches will maintain their important role in life and biomedical science, because longer read lengths are often not required to obtain meaningful data for many applications. Whereas genome re-sequencing and de novo sequencing will benefit from ever more powerful sequencing methods, analytical applications can be performed by tag-based approaches, where the focus shifts from 'sequencing power' to better means of data analysis and visualization for common users. Today Next Generation Sequence data require powerful bioinformatics expertise that has to be converted into easy-to-use data analysis tools. The book's intention is to give an overview on recently developed tag-based approaches along with means of their data analysis together with introductions to Next-Generation Sequencing Methods, protocols and user guides to be an entry for scientists to tag-based approaches for Next Generation Sequencing.
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