Alice in the Land of Plants by Yiannis ManetasWhy is it that plants do not need to move? How does a nonmotile organism have sex or defend itself? Why are some plants virtually immortal? What is the mechanism that allows plants to exploit a practically inexhaustible extraterrestrial energy source? How do plants regulate the composition of our planet's atmosphere? Why have there not been mass extinctions among plants as there have been among animals? How do plants communicate with one another? In the end, are plants intelligent organisms? These are some of the questions the author discusses to demonstrate that plants are wrongly considered to be simple organisms lacking specific behaviour and intelligence. This book promises to be as pleasant a surprise as Alice's experience in the white rabbit's warren, in which she encountered a world very different from ours. The author explains the biology of plants following Einstein's maxim that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
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A Natural History of the New World by Alan GrahamThe paleoecological history of the Americas is as complex as the region is broad: stretching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, the New World features some of the most extraordinary vegetation on the planet. But until now it has lacked a complete natural history. Alan Graham remedies that with A Natural History of the New World. With plants as his scientific muse, Graham traces the evolution of ecosystems, beginning in the Late Cretaceous period (about 100 million years ago) and ending in the present, charting their responses to changes in geology and climate. By highlighting plant communities' roles in the environmental history of the Americas, Graham offers an overdue balance to natural histories that focus exclusively on animals. Plants are important in evolution's splendid drama. Not only are they conspicuous and conveniently stationary components of the Earth's ecosystems, but their extensive fossil record allows for a thorough reconstruction of the planet's paleoenvironments. What's more, plants provide oxygen, function as food and fuel, and provide habitat and shelter; in short, theirs is a history that can speak to many other areas of evolution. A Natural History of the New World is an ambitious and unprecedented synthesis written by one of the world's leading scholars of botany and geology.
Publication Date: 2010
Ecology and Control of Introduced Plants by Judith H. Myers; Dawn BazelyThe global spread of plant species by humans is both a fascinating large scale experiment and, in many cases, a major perturbation to native plant communities. Many of the most destructive weeds today have been intentionally introduced to new environments where they have had unexpected and detrimental impacts. This 2003 book considers the problem of invasive introduced plants from historical, ecological and sociological perspectives. We consider such questions as 'What makes a community invasible?', 'What makes a plant an invader?' and 'Can we restore plant communities after invasion?' Written with advanced students and land managers in mind, this book contains practical explanations, case studies and an introduction to basic techniques for evaluating the impacts of invasive plants. An underlying theme is that experimental and quantitative evaluation of potential problems is necessary, and solutions must consider the evolutionary and ecological constraints acting on species interactions in newly invaded communities.