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For Further Reading

Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.

Reference for: Chapter 12, The Foundations of Evolutionary Theory

Haldane, J. B. S. 1932. The Causes of Evolution. Longman: UK.

Reference for: Chapter 12, The Foundations of Evolutionary Theory


*Long, John A. 1995. The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution. John Hopkins University Press: MD

This lavish overview of the evolution of fishes is not the most detailed but its illustrations and photographs give a rich sense of the evidence on which our understanding of fish evolution is based. It makes a highly readable reference for students and a terrific desk reference for instructors called upon to teach aspects of fish evolution.

Reference for: Chapter 12, Spotlight 12.1

*Raup, David. 1991. Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? W.W. Norton: NY

This “little” book summarizes the evidence for five major extinctions in the geologic records and their causes. It’s a highly readable and engaging account that will quickly bring the reader up to date on this fascinating topic.

Reference for: Chapter 12, The Foundations of Evolutionary Theory


*Stott, Rebecca. 2003. Darwin and the Barnacle: The Story of One Tiny Creature and History’s Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough. Norton: NY

This book brings to the forefront Darwin’s painstaking and highly important work on barnacles. It might be argued that Darwin formulated his ideas about evolution and natural selection from studying barnacles. Although this is a “storybook”, in the sense that it weaves a narrative about Darwin’s barnacle work, it does illuminate this important and little known work in an engaging and instructive manner.

Reference for: Chapter 12, The Foundations of Evolutionary Theory

*Carroll, Sean B. 2006. The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. W. W. Norton: NY

The evolutionary record is contained in the DNA of organisms. It is a history that we can finally begin to read.



*Coyne, Jerry A., and H. Allen Orr. 2004. Speciation. Sinauer Associates: MA.

Coyne and Orr have written a textbook covering all aspects of speciation, emphasizing modern research on this topic.


*Ellis, Richard. 2001. Aquagenesis: The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Sea. Viking Penguin Books: NY

Ellis is a masterful storyteller and illustrator. There are better books on this subject but if you like Ellis way of weaving facts, this book should please you.


*Fortey, Richard. 1997. Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth. Vintage Books: NY

Fortey narrates the history of life on Earth, citing his own work and the research of other scientists to piece together the puzzles of how life evolved.


*Fortey, Richard. 2000. Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution. Alfred A. Knopf: NY

All you ever wanted to know about trilobites in an engaging, delightful prose.

*Gould, Stephen Jay. 1989. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. W. W. Norton: NY

Stephen Jay Gould delights some and irritates others but he always manages to inspire thoughtful reflection on a topic. In this book, he discusses in great detail the Burgess Shale and how it paints a picture of the “progression” of evolution unlike what is commonly perceived. Gould sees evolution not only as “survival of the fittest” but also as “survival of the lucky.”

*Gould, Stephen Jay. 2001. The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth. W.W. Norton: IA

*Gould, Stephen Jay. 2002. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: MA

This immense volume details Gould’s provocative and often controversial views on the evolution of life on Earth. To his credit, Gould is typically entertaining, and this book reads like a good novel. Unfortunately, you have to read a lot of it if you are generally unfamiliar with his ideas or the nuances of evolution. Nonetheless, it’s an essential reference for a biologist’s library.

*Hull, David L. 2001. Science and Selection: Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science. Cambridge University Press: UK

Hull’s essays educate and entertain and get the reader to thinking more deeply about science and its effects on humanity. His essays on evolution are a big help to those who need a refresher or those who require greater ammunition in the verbal wars with antievolutionists.

*Johnson, Kirk R., and Richard K. Stucky. 1995. Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth. Roberts Rinehart Publishers: CO.

Based on dioramas at the Denver Museum of Natural History, this delightfully illustrated book traces the history of life from microbes to mammals, with an emphasis on dinosaurs. Its brevity notwithstanding, this book does a great job of providing the fossil evidence on which the scientific interpretation of the history of life is based.

*Kirschner, Marc W. and John C. Gerhart. 2005. The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma. Yale University Press: CT

Kirscner and Gerhart tackle the origins of new species and evolutionary complexity.

*Knoll, Andrew. 2003. Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth. Princeton University Press: NJ

This is an outstanding book on the evolution of Earth and its biota. Knoll is one of the pioneers in the field of geobiology and his up-to-date scientific account of the field makes this an excellent reference and an entertaining read. Knoll exposes the controversies and examines the evidence that surrounding them. Most narratives don’t make good reference books but Knoll’s is an exception. If you are trying to choose between “histories of life on Earth”, pick this one.

*Larson, Edward J. 2004. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Modern Library: NY

This book sketches the development of evolutionary theory. It’s primarily written for general audiences and so loses some of the detail required for students and instructors.

*Margulis, Lynn, and Dorion Sagan. 1986. Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. Simon and Schuster: NY.

A provocative hypothesis about the interdependency of higher organisms and bacteria.

*Margulis, Lynn. 1998. The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. Weidenfeld & Nicolson: UK

Margulis is not one to shy away from controversy. Her endosymbiotic hypothesis was met with great skepticism originally but is now widely accepted. In this book, she applies her principles of symbiosis to the full range of life and its communities, including Earth.

*Margulis, Lynn, and Michael F. Dolan. 2002. Early Life: Evolution of the PreCambrian Earth, 2nd Edition. Jones and Bartlett: MA

*Mayr, Ernst. 1982. The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: MA

Professor Sean thinks this is one of the most important books ever written. It defends the place of biology in science and retells the history of evolutionary thinking from pre- to neo-Darwinism. At more than 900 pages, it’s an intimidating volume, but Mayr’s prose and his way of explaining concepts makes this book a delight to read. You will only want to read several pages of it at a time as Mayr provokes deep reverie with every page. But you will have a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of evolution upon reading this book than is possible with just about any other book.

*Mayr, Ernst. 2001. What Evolution Is. Basic Books: NY

Any book by Ernst Mayr is worth reading, according to Professor Sean. This book provides a solid foundation for different aspects of evolution and evolutionary processes.

*Weiner, Jonathan. 1994. The Beak of the Finch. Vintage Books: NY

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book has become a textbook for learning about evolution.

*Zimmer, Carl. 1998. At the Water’s Edge: Fish With Fingers, Whales With Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea. Simon and Schuster: NY

An excellent narrative on macroevolution.

*Zimmer, Carl. 2001. Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. HarperCollins: NY

This is the companion book to the Evolution video series by PBS.

*Moorehead, Alan. 1969. Darwin and the Beagle. Harper & Row: NY

This “old” book is notable for its abundant photos, illustrations and drawings, many of which are full page and stunning, and for its highly readable and intimate account of Charles Darwin’s voyage aboard HMS Beagle. It’s not as dense with information as other books on Darwin but it captures the spirit of his curiosity and scientific reasoning.

Reference for: Chapter 12, The Foundations of Evolutionary Theory

The Endless Voyage: Building Blocks, Water World and Survivors (written by W. S. Chamberlin) (Episodes 18, 19 and 21). 2002 (VHS and DVD). Intelecom.

Professor Sean appeared in several of the episodes of this series and helped develop learning activities to support it. While some episodes are better than others, The Endless Voyage provides one of the most complete and up-to-date series on oceanography available

: : Encyclopedia of the Sea : :
Chapter Two Image

Barnacles by Sean Chamberlin

Barnacles (Arthropoda, Crustacea, Cirripedia), those hard-shelled, miniature, acorn-like, animals that cling to rocks and the bottoms of boats, enjoy an interesting history with man. Thought to be the eggs of geese in the Middle Ages—allowing geese to be labeled as seafood and thus acceptable to eat on Fridays until Pope Innocent III’s edict in 1215—and critical to Darwin’s stature as a scientist—who studied them for eight years and published a two-volume monograph on their natural history—these tiny animals remain a focus of laypersons and scientists in modern times. While some scientists work on applications for getting rid of them (or at least preventing them from settling on watercraft), other scientists study their glue (one of the strongest on Earth) for commercial development. Still other scientists study their developmental biology to gain insights on the interactions between gene regulation and environmental cues. And ever-mindful of the human fascination with sex, we report that barnacles, while hermaphrodites, boast the largest penis-to-body length ratio of any animal, having an organ that stretches 10-20 times the length of its body.

Barnacles are crustaceans that have literally turned the arthropod body plan on its head. Classified as mollusks until 1830, when observations of their larvae revealed unmistakable arthropodan characteristics, the barnacle secretes calcareous plates that enclose its soft exoskeleton. In a Zen-like act of “being the benthos”, the barnacle glues its head to the hard substrate and remains permanently attached for the rest of its life. The barnacle’s appendages—called cirri—extend upwards through a pair of plates—the tergum and scutum—that act like a door, or operculum, to allow the animal to feed on suspended particles. When closed, the operculum seals the barnacle house and protects it from the elements or predators. This adaptation—living head down, kicking your feet in the air to feed and closing the door for protection—enables the barnacle to withstand environmental conditions that few other marine animals could bear. Barnacles may spend weeks out of water, during which time extremes of temperature, desiccation, ultraviolet radiation, lack of food, inability to excrete and a host of other challenges threaten its survival. Nonetheless, their lifestyle allows them to inhabit an environment where there are fewer predators and competitors and make their living in the rocky intertidal and boat harbors around the world.

Because of their sedentary lifestyle and accessible habitat, barnacles are among the most intensely studied animals for understanding community ecology and the population dynamics of organisms. Studies by Connell in the 1950s and 60s—well-known classics in the ecological literature—demonstrated that one species of barnacle, Balanus (BAL-uh-nuss) displaces upwards another species of barnacle, Chthamalus (THAM-uh-luss), causing it to live under less-than-optimal conditions (hotter and dryer). The tolerance of Chthamalus for warmer and dryer conditions enables it to survive higher in the intertidal when Balanus is abundant. Otherwise, under conditions in which Balanus is limited, either by predators or environmental factors, Chthamalus occupies a similar tidal range. In a 70-year study of the rocky intertidal in the English Channel, Southward et al (1991, 1995) further demonstrated the nature of competitive interactions between barnacles, in this case, Chthamalus and Semibalanus. The dominance of one species over another in locations where space was not limiting depends on sea surface temperatures. In warmer years, particularly the 1950s, Chthamalus dominated; in cooler years, such as occurred in the 1960s and 70s, Semibalanus dominated. The sea surface warming trend since the 1980s has favored Chthalamus, although its abundance has not reached the same levels as in the 1950s. These scientists conclude: “We believe that interaction between Chthamulus and Semibalanus is strongly influenced by physical factors, of which temperature is one of the moist important, at that this affects level of reproductive output, settlement and recruitment.”

Field studies such as these demonstrate the importance of understanding species interactions and large-scale oceanographic processes that influence the dynamics of marine ecosystems. Modeling studies also help to test and elucidate our theoretical understanding. Susan Alexander at Cal State Monterey and Joan (formerly Jonathan) Roughgarden at Stanford University used mathematical models to examine the role that physical transport processes (upwelling and coastal fronts) play in the recruitment and survival of barnacles between the Monterey Peninsula and Point Sur (Alexander and Roughgarden 1996). Their model explores both pre-settlement and post-settlement processes by integrating physical processes, such as advection and diffusion of larvae (pre-settlement) with competition for space and mortality among adults (post-settlement). What they found is that movement of upwelling fronts towards the shore—which occurs during relaxation of upwelling which allows water to move onshore—cause increases in barnacle settlement, a result that appears supported by field observations. While resource limitation (e.g. space) is also important, water movements (advection) during and between periods of upwelling appear to govern as a first component the distribution and abundance of barnacles. These results have important implications for the dispersion and recruitment of any species whose larvae are dispersed in the plankton (including commercially important invertebrates and fishes). Moreover, the availability of satellite and radar images in near real-time will better enable researchers to track and investigate the role that local hydrodynamics play on coastal marine communities. Regime shifts due to climate change and its impact on coastal species may also be explored.

One additional barnacle study highlights the importance of understanding the ecological dynamics of marine ecosystems, especially with regard to human interactions. For nearly a century, scientists have recognized the role that ship’s play in transporting species from one ocean location to to another. The introduction of American East Coast barnacles to France (Pilsbry, 1916), Indio-Pacific barnacles to Europe (e.g. Bishop, 1947) and western Atlantic species to Hawaii (Southward et al., 1998) serve as three examples. In May 2000, a species of barnacle from the American West Coast, Balanus glandula, was found in Honshu, Japan. The discovery of this species coupled with existing scientific knowledge of local species enabled scientists to track and investigate its potential impact (Kado, 2003).

Kado cites the ability of Balanus glandula to breed at a smaller size and earlier in the season as possible reasons for its success in competing with Balanus albicostatus, a species primarily found in calm waters and who appears to be “suffering” the greatest impact. As is apparent in their data, competition with other species alters both the mean tide height and the width of distribution of Balanus glandula at any given location. Thus, it is found in a narrow or broad range higher or lower in the intertidal, depending on the presence of other species, all of whom are affected by the environmental conditions at a given location. Again, dynamic interactions between species and the environment affect the patterns of distribution of organisms.

The effects of invasive species, non-indigenous species introduced by man, are of great concern for their potential negative impacts on marine ecosystems and human commercial interests. While the introduction of Balanus glandula appears to be benign in Japan, species such as the zebra mussel, aquarium seaweeds (Caulerpa taxifola) and other introduced species may have long-term negative consequences. Scientific knowledge of community interactions in marine ecosystems may help mitigate any harmful effects.