( Kindle ePUB ) Why Big Fierce Animals Are RareAn Ecologist's Perspective BY Paul Colinvaux

summary Why Big Fierce Animals Are RareAn Ecologist's Perspective

Here is one of the most provocative wide ranging and delightful books ever written about our environment Paul Colinvaux takes Clear eyed and full of appreciation Reading reminded me of sitting on a porch with a great teacher who is giving an impromptu seminar I never did get my little bronze tags to flag the pages I was constantly looking across the room mentally reaching for them but deciding I didn t want to put down the bookThe sea is blue This is a very odd thing because the sea is also wet and spread out under the sun It ought to be green with plants as is the land but it is not There are murky coasts and estuaries the green hard waters of stormy channels the fog covered silvery gray of ocean banks But the deep sea the open sea most of the sea is blue This strange blueness of the sea can tell us many things You think of Robert Redford s raft bobbing in the blue under the sun of Pi adrift who met no green until the mythic island with its teethHe talks of how it is that you find teeming life at banks and upwellings the coasts at the mouths of rivers and also talks fondly of dead poetic alpine lakes This beautiful useless oligotrophic lake He explains why big fierce animals are rare why there are no superpredators that feed on tigers and indirectly why jungle leaves can be big sheets but temperate leaves are small But suppose the tree made an umbrella that was half holes He tells of an arctic fox that once tried to take a sandwich from his pocket as he sat on an arctic rockSometimes it reminded me in its style of The Unbearable Lightness of Being In Colinvaux An animal continually burns up its fuel supply to do the work of living puffing the exhaust gases out of the smokestacks of its mouth and nostrils and sending the calories off to outer space as radiant heat Compare Kundera Tereza forgot she was looking at the instrument panel of her body mechanisms she thought she saw her soul shining through the features of her face She forgot that the nose was merely the nozzle of a hose that took oxygen to the lungs she saw it as the true expression of her nature And then a part I always like Her soul would rise to the surface of her body like a crew charging up from the bowels of a ship spreading out over the deck waving at the sky and singing in jubilationColinvaux Slugs and snails are toward the size of caterpillars Shrews and toads are near the size of song birds Even a snake can be thought of as an odd shaped hawkThe whales have cut out the middlemen Floating as they do in the sea they use little energy in their sluggish hunting paddling uietly along with their mouths open straining the meat out of the oceanic soupAnd he talks of people How ecology breeding strategies resources and population pressures shapes the story of the rise of states their fall of wars of expansion of caste systems of repression With each stirring time of expansion we have gained beyond all reckoning in wisdom and the understanding of the life that is possible for us and it has not all been lost with each subseuent collapse An Encyclopedia Galactica The chances of nuclear war and which kind of nation will likely be the aggressor He predicts that technology will continue to find the raw materials and energy for life but that other resources of privacy of some taste of adventure for the young of the right to do sometimes as one pleases will be the resources that are eroded

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Why Big Fierce Animals Are RareAn Ecologist's Perspective

Rage a greater understanding of the environment and of the efforts of those who seek to preserve it New York Times Book Review This book by famed ecologist Paul Colinvaux could have just as easily been called Why Things Are the Way they Are as only a small fraction of the book concerned the specific topic of why big fierce animals are rare These were Colinvaux s occasionally politically incorrect musings on how the world works asking such uestions as why is the sea blue and addressing psychological issues revolving around the human love of clear cold though nearly lifeless and unproductive streams It addressed issues of community ecology and competition with heavy emphasis on the competitive exclusion principle Though dated it was an interesting retrospective look at the state of ecology in the 1970 s

Paul Colinvaux ´ 6 summary

A penetrating look at the science of ecology bringing to his subject both profound knowledge and an enthusiasm that will encou A clear and compelling description of what ecology actually is a theoretical framework like economics than botany with budgets and widely applicable strategies and empirical laws supported or refuted by logic common sense and mathematical models Ecology like uantum mechanics has its Exclusion Principle each niche sustains exactly one species The population size of a species is determined by the width of its niche and not by its breeding strategy And the width of the niche often comes down to a single limiting resource the space available for breeding territories or supply of some mineral Preditor population is often influenced by the population of its prey but the reverse is rarely true Competition between species is nowhere nearly as intense as you might think as each has its own niche and species evolve to minimise the overlap of their niches


10 thoughts on “Why Big Fierce Animals Are RareAn Ecologist's Perspective

  1. says:

    The first part of my review is actually in my reading progress comments below if you really want to know what I think you have to read those ;Now I'm done Overall I love the book and would have read it several times if I'd owned it when it was

  2. says:

    While this is a surprisingly complete collection of essay style chapters that cover the 'big' uestions in ecology it is a little simplistic and slightly dated the latter is obviously not the author's fault but it is worth noting Colinvaux does manage to explain the cornerstone ecological theories in a manner that can be understood by all through comparison with the 'human world' but this does mean that some of the key complexities

  3. says:

    Clear eyed and full of appreciation Reading reminded me of sitting on a porch with a great teacher who is givin

  4. says:

    If you love Big Fierce Animals in theory but are secretly and occasionally anxiety stricken that in the real world one or a bunch of them together are going to eventually eat you like a king size Snickers bar as

  5. says:

    my favorite kind of pop science book written by a real scientist not a popularizer journalist gives real insight into deep uestions about the structure of the natural world as well as the iterative process scientists have used over the years to try to understand it

  6. says:

    A clear and compelling description of what ecology actually is a theoretical framework like economics than botany with budgets and wi

  7. says:

    I had to throw this book at the wall because he concludes that the human niche is to be AMERICAN give me a break

  8. says:

    Everything you always needed to know about ecologyBut didn't know that you wanted to askActually when I purchased this book I thought it would be about the lives of tigers leopards jaguars and other big fierce animals I've read and en

  9. says:

    This book by famed ecologist Paul Colinvaux could have just as easily been called Why Things Are the Way they Are as only a small fraction of the book concerned the specific topic of why big fierce animals are rare These were Colinvaux's occasionally politically incorrect musings on how the world works asking s

  10. says:

    A good start for beginners on the field of ecology On how by natural selection species co exist both by competing and cooperating Some good mental models on transfer of energy in the food chain ocean life etc