Darwin's Dreampond (Revised)
Author: Goldschmidt, Tijs
Publisher: The MIT Press
Condition: Used: Very Good
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Science & Math 1311131
"Tijs Goldschmidt has trapped a ghost image in this solid and highly perceptive work - the glorious, haunting, and indecipherable complexity of biological life. Goldschmidt also shows us, however, that the human desire both to understand and to exploit such life is equally thought-provoking. Thus does "Darwin's Dreampond" become a first rate account of a modern scientist's field work among the cychlids and the Sukuma people of Lake Victoria."
-- Barry Lopez, author of "Arctic Dreams" Dazzling in their variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, the cichlids (small perch-like fishes) of Lake Victoria, like the finches of the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii's Honeycreepers, have been geographically isolated long enough to undergo unusually broad speciation. These small fish form a species flock -- closely related species that have descended from a common ancestor and radiated, or fanned, into different specializations -- that is the most spectacular in the world, fascinating anatomists, ecologists, ethologists, and evolutionary biologists alike. The process of speciation was still under way until just recently, when the introduction of the large, predatory Nile perch so disrupted the Lake's intricate ecosystem that the glorious spectrum of cichlids has almost vanished.
"Darwin's Dreampond" tells the evolutionary story of the extraordinary "furu" and the battlefield leading to extinction. Tijs Goldschmidt skillfully blends a masterful discussion of the principles of neo-Darwinian evolution and speciation with a history of Lake Victoria's ecosystem. The science unfolds in the context of the engaging first-person narrative of Goldschmidt'sadventures and misadventures as a field researcher. An astute observer and a clear and witty writer, he warmly portrays the colors and textures of the landscapes and the lives of the local people as he interacts with them during the course of his fieldwork.