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Lichens Pb [Paperback]

W Purvis
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.99
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Book Description

Sept. 17 2000 Smithsonian's Natural World Series
From the rain forests of Costa Rica to the frozen deserts of Antarctica, lichens are a familiar part of the landscape. Widespread and long-lived, yet vulnerable to environmental disturbance, lichens are useful to scientists in assessing the effects of air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Illustrated with more than 150 color photographs, Lichens reveals the varied and intriguing world of organisms that have been used in natural remedies and are becoming key indicators of the earth's environmental health.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very attractive and informative Nov. 10 2002
Format:Paperback
This is a marvelous introduction to lichens. The author is a lichenologist at The Natural History Museum in London and is enthusiastic about his subject. The book is a very manageable length-a little over 100 pages-and explains what a lichen is (a combination of two organisms: a fungus and a photosynthesizing partner, usually an algae), and other topics such as lichen evolution, the ecological role of lichens, lichens in forests, lichens in extreme environments, and biomonitoring. The author also includes a chapter on practical projects-collecting, monitoring, and photographing lichens-which motivated me to order a magnifying glass. One of the projects the author suggests is to visit churchyards to learn about lichens and their ecology. As he says, "The thing that makes churchyards so useful is the multitude of conveniently dated surfaces."
The book is profusely and attractively illustrated with one or more color photographs, drawings, or diagrams on every page. Many of the pictures show different lichens, either in a natural setting such as on a tree or as a close up. Some features are illustrated with both a regular and a microscopic photo. For example, there is a picture of a lichen with a lovely gray color on the fruiting body (the structure that forms fungal spores for reproduction) and a scanning electron microscope picture of the calcium oxalate crystals which cause the color. I enjoyed the sidebars on various topics like "Tests for lichen substances" and "Why do different lichens grow on trees."
The book includes a glossary, a bibliography, web links for more information, and an index.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview March 29 2003
Format:Paperback
This book provides a great introduction to the study of lichens. In concise text that assumes very little specialist knowledge, Purvis explains what lichens are and how they grow. He goes on to explain their role in ecosystems and many of the various uses that have been developed for lichens over the years. He delves into the use of lichens for biomonitoring at great length, and provides many examples of how lichens have been used to monitor or detect air pollution or metals contamination. The book includes color pictures, illustrations, and graphs on each page. At the end of the book, Purvis includes some suggested serious lichen research projects that even beginners could undertake. There is a glossary, an index, and list of books and Websites for further study. This book is a great place to get started in lichenology. It would also make a great science or ecology text for older homeschoolers.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview March 29 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides a great introduction to the study of lichens. In concise text that assumes very little specialist knowledge, Purvis explains what lichens are and how they grow. He goes on to explain their role in ecosystems and many of the various uses that have been developed for lichens over the years. He delves into the use of lichens for biomonitoring at great length, and provides many examples of how lichens have been used to monitor or detect air pollution or metals contamination. The book includes color pictures, illustrations, and graphs on each page. At the end of the book, Purvis includes some suggested serious lichen research projects that even beginners could undertake. There is a glossary, an index, and list of books and Websites for further study. This book is a great place to get started in lichenology. It would also make a great science or ecology text for older homeschoolers.
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Beautiful Book from the Smithsonian Press! Aug. 5 2004
By David B Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Several books recently published by the Smithsonian Institution Press have been especially well produced. In an earlier review I noted the excellent "Dragonflies of the World," which is much more than a coffee table book. Similarly "Lichens" by William Purvis has illuminated a little known part of the biological world - the obviously composite "organisms." Lichens are a cooperative unit formed by fungus and an "alga" or a cyanobacterium. Some are easily separable into their component species, while others are almost single entities.

With exquisite photographs, interesting text and an attractive format, "Lichens" appears to be just about everything you ever wanted in a short introductory text. It is full of interesting facts about lichens.

I was disappointed in that Simon Schwendener, who was the first to discover that lichens were symbiotic entities, is discussed, but there is no mention of Beatrix Potter (well known for her children's books) for her role in supporting the symbiotic theory of lichens. Both were dismissed in their day, but later their ideas were accepted as it became obvious that they were right.

This is a great introduction to these weird entities, once thought to be likely candidates for native Martians. The price is very attractive as well!
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very attractive and informative Nov. 10 2002
By Kate McDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a marvelous introduction to lichens. The author is a lichenologist at The Natural History Museum in London and is enthusiastic about his subject. The book is a very manageable length-a little over 100 pages-and explains what a lichen is (a combination of two organisms: a fungus and a photosynthesizing partner, usually an algae), and other topics such as lichen evolution, the ecological role of lichens, lichens in forests, lichens in extreme environments, and biomonitoring. The author also includes a chapter on practical projects-collecting, monitoring, and photographing lichens-which motivated me to order a magnifying glass. One of the projects the author suggests is to visit churchyards to learn about lichens and their ecology. As he says, "The thing that makes churchyards so useful is the multitude of conveniently dated surfaces."
The book is profusely and attractively illustrated with one or more color photographs, drawings, or diagrams on every page. Many of the pictures show different lichens, either in a natural setting such as on a tree or as a close up. Some features are illustrated with both a regular and a microscopic photo. For example, there is a picture of a lichen with a lovely gray color on the fruiting body (the structure that forms fungal spores for reproduction) and a scanning electron microscope picture of the calcium oxalate crystals which cause the color. I enjoyed the sidebars on various topics like "Tests for lichen substances" and "Why do different lichens grow on trees."
The book includes a glossary, a bibliography, web links for more information, and an index.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just What I Needed Feb. 25 2008
By Barry A. Grivett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another satisfied customer, amateur lichenologist/naturalist and macro photographer. Splendid introduction to a little-known aspect of our environment. I'm indebted to the three previous reviewers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LICHENS April 29 2011
By Micronut - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent introduction to the biology of the lichens. It is very well written, covers the topic quite well, and is profusely illustrated with first rate color photographs. it is not an identification manual, butt a great explanation as to what lichens are..
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