Marine Mammals Evolutionary Biology by Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, Kit M. Kovacs

Marine Mammals Evolutionary Biology

Written by Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, Kit M. Kovacs
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Marine Mammals Evolutionary Biology by Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, Kit M. Kovacs

Berta and Sumich have succeeded yet again in creating superior marine reading! This book is a succinct yet comprehensive text devoted to the systematics, evolution, morphology, ecology, physiology, and behavior of marine mammals. The first edition, considered the leading text in the field, is required reading for all marine biologists concerned with marine mammals. Revisions include updates of citations, expansion of nearly every chapter and full color photographs. This title continues the tradition by fully expanding and updating nearly all chapters. It includes comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of the biology of all marine mammals. It provides a phylogenetic framework that integrates phylogeny with behavior and ecology. It features chapter summaries, further readings, an appendix, glossary and an extensive bibliography. It also includes exciting new color photographs and additional distribution maps.


...successfully highlights the current state of knowledge on the diverse assemblage of mammals that utilise the marine environment. These authors have combined their expertise to produce a comprehensive excellent textbook for advanced courses in marine mammalogy. Indeed, all scientists and students who study marine mammals should read it...the book's major strength lies in the sections on the anatomy and physiology of marine mammals. The early chapters on evolution and systematics of the three primary groups of marine mammals (pinnipeds, cetaceans and sirenians) are highly detailed with respect to anatomical features...This book is an important resource and it should not be merely viewed as a classroom textbook. It contains a wealth of information. In addition to the biological aspects of marine mammals, the book also provides the history of exploitation and political attempts to manage and regulate hunting. Even though this review is presented in an unbiased manner, the conclusions are that current practices of overfishing may lead in the end to the demise of a number of species. Berta, Sumich and Kovacs present a hopeful plea that we can make future political decisions based on a sense of stewardship of the oceans and its inhabitants. - Frank E. Fish, Department of Biology, West Chester University in ANIMAL BIOLOGY ...Berta et al have provided us with a crucial resource spanning many disparate research venues...Each chapter provides extensive references for further research. In the appendix are listed the living species (as discussed in the book) with information such as diagnosis, definition, distribution, fossil history and content. A glossary, a substantial index and several pages of color photos completes the rest of the book...certainly, this book is appropriate for any academic library supporting marine science, marine ecology, environmental science, evolutionary biology and similar programs. - Peggy Dominy in E-STREAMS This update to the original version of this basic book originally published in 1999 is highly welcome...the authors succeed again in presenting a book that is simultaneously challenging and easily readable for students. The strength of the book is its integrative presentation of adaptiveness to the marine environment (e.g. in terms of anatomy, physiology, behaviour and ecology, all in an explicit phylogenetic context) as opposed to isolated tales of evolutionary adaptations. As such, the reader can always follow functional aspects of convergent evolution in the various non-related marine-mammal groups. Consequentially, the book starts with a (classical) introduction to phylogenetic systematics in general followed by specific chapters on pinniped, cetacean and sirenian evolution and systematics. Different and even highly contradicting views of the relationships of each group are clearly presented, and the authors do an excellent job (especially for students) of not trying to conceal these disagreements, but instead in leaving the discussion open. Part I finishes with an especially nice chapter on 'evolutionary biogeography'. The bulk of the book deals with solutions in all the various systems to cope with the (for mammals) new marine environment. The changes in each of these systems, especially when viewed together, represent a powerful, outstanding and underused piece of evidence of evolution. Following the descriptions of loss, restructuring and 'inventing

- M. S. Fischer, Jena, in JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH with the evolution of marine mammals in detail, and the remainder of the book is a good, solid guide to their complex biology. That said, Marine mammals: evolutionary biology will certainly be popular with students, because it is clearly and concisely written, and intelligently illustrated. - in CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS ...the book does represent a good reference source that I will certainly use myself, and it will serve those who teach these themes extremely well. Berta et al. deserve to be congratulated for this comprehensive tome - it is a thorough, precise and clearly written reference that will serve admirably those interested in the evolution of marine mammals. - Corey J.A. Bradshaw, School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, in POLAR RESEARCH

About the Author

Annalisa Berta is Professor of Biology in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University, San Diego, California and a Research Associate at the San Diego Natural History Museum in San Diego, California and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. She is an evolutionary biologist who for the last 30 years has been studying the anatomy, evolution and systematics of fossil and living marine mammals, especially pinnipeds and whales. She is a past President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and former Senior Editor of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and Associate Editor of Marine Mammal Science. She has written 100 scientific papers and several books for the specialist as well as non-scientist including Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals, 2012, (University of California Press) and the forthcoming book (summer, 2015) Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises: a natural history and species guide (University of Chicago Press). James Sumich is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Grossmont College and is the author of a popular book on gray whales. He has conducted research on gray whales from British Columbia to Baja California for four decades and has taught marine mammal course for nearly that long. His research has focused on the ecological physiology of baleen whales, especially the energetics of their seasonal fasting migrations. Kit M. Kovacs is the Biodiversity Research Programme Leader for the Norwegian Polar Institute in Troms Norway and Professor of Biology at University Studies on Svalbard (UNIS). She has worked with marine mammals in polar regions for the past 30 years, focussing on behavioural ecology and population biology. She is a Past-President of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and the current Chair of the Pinniped Specialist Group, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Book Info


560 pages


Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, Kit M. Kovacs
More books by Annalisa Berta, James L. Sumich, Kit M. Kovacs


Academic Press Inc an imprint of Elsevier Science Publishing Co Inc

Publication date

14th December 2005



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