Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps. 2nd edition. Cargill, M., and P. O'Connor. 2013. Wiley-Blackwell, Chinchester, U.K. 223 pp. £19.99 (paperback). ISBN 978–1–118–57070–8.
This book is exactly what its title suggests: a step-by-step guide to writing scientific papers written for those who are new to the task. Moreover, it's well organized, thorough, and pragmatic. The focus is on natural rather than social sciences. Cargill and O'Connor take aspiring authors through every step of the writing and publication process, and this second edition covers additional topics such as writing review papers and funding proposals. A section on developing discipline-specific English skills for authors whose first language isn't English will probably make this book relevant to a broad audience worldwide.
Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes. Fuller, R. J., editor. 2012. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 542 pp. $65.00 (paperback). ISBN 978–0–521–72233–9.
This book presents a comprehensive synthesis of current bird–habitat concepts and a collection of case studies and comparisons that illustrate issues of bird–habitat selection and use in different environments. Part I introduces the reader to the basics of bird–habitat relationships and explores a wide range of concepts, including habitat occupancy, spatiotemporal variation, and the influence of landscape scale and structure, transitional habitats, cultural landscapes, and habitat heterogeneity on these relationships. In part II, seven case studies provide a predominantly British perspective on recent advances in understanding of bird habitat selection and use. Part III raises important questions about habitat quality, such as the affects of individual habitat choices on populations and changing cultural landscapes and climates on habitat selection. The book closes with a comparison of the response of birds to processes of landscape change in eastern Canada and Western Europe. Despite a rather narrow geographical scope, this book offers a worthy read for those seeking a thorough examination of bird habitat relationships brought to life by case studies from Western Europe.
A Primer of Botanical Latin, with Vocabulary. Short, E., and A. George. 2013. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 292 pp. £40.95 (paperback). ISBN 978–1–107–69375–3.
Have you ever struggled to spell, remember, or interpret scientific names? Such challenges are common in all domains of biology. This primer is a straightforward, painless way for botanists, and very likely other scientists, to overcome them. For botanists in particular, Latin remains an important and dynamic element of specimen description and taxonomic classification. This primer's sections on grammatical conventions, translation exercises, and vocabulary are sufficiently comprehensive but straightforward. Indeed, this book was written to be an accessible companion to larger systematic and taxonomic references.
Mammals of China. Smith, A. T., and Y. Xie, editors. 2013. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 395 pp. $24.95 (paperback). ISBN 978–0–691–15427–5.
As Smith and Xie note in this book's introduction, China is home to over 10% of the world's mammal species, and 20% of China's mammals are endemic. For example, 22 of the 28 pika (Ochotonidae) species worldwide are found there. These impressive numbers make a comprehensive field guide a necessary resource, and that's exactly what this book is. This highly acclaimed guide includes color illustrations and up-to-date distribution maps, along with basic information on each species’ distinctive characteristics, distribution, natural history, and conservations status. Each species’ common name is given in English and Chinese, the latter in both character and pinyin format.
Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet. Wilkinson, T. 2013. Turner Works. 371 pp. $26.95 (hardcover). ISBN 978–0–7627–8443–1.
Why would conservation biologists want to read the biography of the billionaire founder of CNN? Because he owns a herd of 55,000 bison on properties across six states, owns a conservation-managed land base the size of Yellowstone National Park, and is the acknowledged trailbreaker in private land conservation in the western United States. Veteran science journalist Todd Wilkinson had unparalleled access to Turner while writing this book, and evidently asked him some good questions. This book isn't simply a homage, instead it paints a picture of how Turner's life events and relationships have shaped and inspired his actions. Last Stand is a rare look inside the thinking of a controversial but world-renowned conservation innovator.