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The Nature of Diversity: An Evolutionary Voyage of Discovery [Hardcover]

Daniel R. Brooks , Deborah A. McLennan


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Book Description

May 1 2002
All living things on earth—from individual species to entire ecosystems—have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives.

Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution—the history of organisms—is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats.

The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.

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"Brooks and McLennan give us a new and clean way of looking at life on earth, rich in examples and practical advice. The Nature of Diversity is both phylogenetics and the environment, inextricably interwoven, rich in anachronisms and serendipity. This book is a must read for anyone addressing and building biodiversity understanding, an understanding that all of our societies must acquire if we are not all to be condemned to the trash heap." - Daniel H. Janzen, University of Pennsylvania

From the Inside Flap

Darwin recognized that evolution is the result of interactions between the inherited nature of organisms and the nature of their living conditions. Of the two, he proposed that the nature of the organism is paramount. A universal aspect of that nature is retained history, or phylogeny.

Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that evolution has been so complex and historically contingent that robust evolutionary explanations must include phylogenetic information. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, they show how scientists can uncover the effects of evolutionary history on all levels of biological organization, from organisms to ecosystems. While illustrating and testing their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats, they adopt the metaphor of a voyage of discovery, because there is still so much to learn about the evolved nature of the biosphere.

The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.

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Isaac Asimov's Lord Dorwin is as far removed from Charles Darwin as is possible to imagine. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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