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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

Ship Collisions with Cetaceans by Sean Chamberlin

As we enter the 21st century, expanding economies and increased international trade have placed greater demands on transportation of goods through shipping. Since the 1980s, the world fleet has grown more numerous with larger ships. In 2003, some 89,899 vessels with a gross tonnage (GT) of 605,218,000 plowed the waters of the world ocean (Source: coltoncompany.com; from Lloyd’s Registry). At the same time, background noise levels in the ocean have increased by an estimated 3 dB per decade (NAS 2003). Shipping represents the most likely source for these increases in anthropogenic (man-made) noise in the ocean, especially at low frequencies (5 -500 Hz). Propeller noise, propulsion and shipboard machinery, hull noise and other shipboard sources generate considerable, even unique, acoustic signatures for ships. Despite their concentration within shipping lanes and ports, the propagation of sound waves in the ocean over great distances contributes to global increases in underwater noise. Recreational vessels also have increased in many areas of the world and on a regional basis may substantially increase noise levels. Nearly 17.5 million boats were owned and operated in the U.S. in 2003; more than 1.4 million of them were personal watercraft, which are especially noisy.

We have already seen that increases in underwater noise alter vocalizations and other behavior in some species of cetaceans. Vessel collisions with cetaceans represent another serious and possibly growing problem for cetaceans. In the absence of a systematic means for acquiring data on ship collisions with cetaceans, scientists must rely on anecdotal accounts and circumstantial evidence from beach strandings to infer the degree to which ship traffic imperils these animals. Though reports of collisions of vessels with cetaceans extend to the late 1800s, the later decades of the 1900s (1972-1998) reveal an increase in the number of collisions, especially for large vessels (over 80 meters) traveling at speeds of >14 knots, and especially in coastal waters, i.e. over the continental shelf. Along the eastern United States, 58 of 407 beach strandings of whales between 1975 and 1998 were attributed to ship collisions. Sixteen of these deaths occurred between 1990 and 1994 as compared to nine between 1970 and 1974. In addition, certain species appear to be more susceptible than others: fin whales, northern right whales, humpback whales, minke whales, sei whales and perhaps blue whales. At least a third of northern right and fin whale deaths can be attributed to ship collisions (Laist et al., 2001). For severely depleted endangered species, like the northern right whale, ship collisions, combined with other impacts, may be sufficient to drive this species to extinction, despite more than 60 years of protection. (Caswell et al., 1999). Not all ship collisions result in death. Photographic evidence of whales reveals propeller scars, impact wounds and other injuries associated with collisions. Approximately 7% of northern right whales and Mediterranean sperm whales bear collision scars. Open wounds are also occasionally observed.

Efforts have begun to reduce ship collisions. Shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy were altered to accommodate the migration of northern right whales (National Geographic News, March 5, 2003). The National Ocean Service has begun to provide information on right whale movements to ship operators and the National Marine Fisheries Service requires vessels over 300 tons to contact shore stations regarding right whale locations prior to entering sensitive areas (Coastlines 2003). NOAA has proposed a ship strike reduction strategy that includes reductions of ship speeds in sensitive areas, modification of shipping lanes, continuation of ongoing strike reduction measures and coordination withy Canadian agencies, among others (Right Whale News 11 (2), May 2004).

What remains uncertain is why ship strikes occur at all, given the sensitivity of cetaceans to sound. However, a number of man-made and behavioral factors may play a role. Increases in ocean background noise in recent decades may be sufficient to mask the acoustic signal of ships or at least to reduce the animal’s ability to detect it in time. In addition, a number of acoustic effects in the upper ocean or in the sound field generated from a ship may reduce the noise associated with a ship. Even submarines with their considerable listening ability have nearly collided with supertankers as a result of acoustic shielding and interferences (Koschinski 2003, unpublished). In the case of the northern right whale, it appears that they simply do not respond to ship sounds, possibly because they have become habituated to them. A study comparing ship sounds, right whale social sounds, an intense “alert” signal and silence demonstrated that right whales react to intense sounds but show no behavioral reaction to ship sounds (Nowacek 2004). However, use of an alert signal on ships may cause animals to react unnecessarily (and expend energy or interrupt feeding, nursing or other behaviors) and/or to surface (putting them in the ship’s path). In addition, they may become habituated to the alert signal over the long-term, in which case it would be rendered ineffective.

Future efforts will require better reporting and database integration to more accurately determine the incidence of ship collisions and the species involved. Furthermore, acoustic studies that better constrain the sound environment of different vessels under varying oceanographic conditions can provide much-needed information on the propagation of ship sounds underwater. Continued studies of the behaviors of susceptible species and better knowledge of the conditions under which they react or fail to react to given acoustic signals may also guide efforts to prevent ship collisions with cetaceans.