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Seasons of Life: The Annual Rhythms That Enable Living Things to Survive and Thrive Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009
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A must-read for anyone who has ever looked up at a migrating skein of geese and wondered "how do they know...? (New Scientist)
With their new book Foster and Kreitzman have produced a tantalizing account of most of the relevant facts of what has been nicknamed 'Nature's contraceptive'. This reflects the key function of seasonal organization. Thousands of species across the globe, including the tropics, employ seasonality to turn off reproduction at times of year when low food supply is expected and individual fitness is better served by waiting patiently for the next season. The Seasons of Life is a joy to read, and a compelling text on the importance of seasonality in the evolution of life on earth. (Nature)
The new world of chronobiology is popular science at its most exciting: understanding how the seasons regulate the life of every human, plant and animal on Earth.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The first chapter is devoted to plants, and the way in which they use circannual rhythms to initiate flowering and other vital events in their yearly cycle. There are chapters on circannual rhythms in animals and birds, including the timing of conception and reproduction, hibernation and migration. These chapters clearly set out the latest research on why and how these rhythms operate, how they contribute to species survival, and demonstrate the way all of nature is connected in a giant web of interdependent species and individuals.
Finally there are chapters on the effects of circannual rhythms on humans. This includes such fascinating topics as the prevalence of certain illnesses at different times of year, birth and death patterns in different seasons, and a chapter on SAD, including research and ideas on its prevention and treatment.
This was definitely not what you would call an easy read. The chapters on animals and plants are very detailed and there is a fair amount of biological terminology to get your head around, as well as diagrams that take a little time to study and understand. That said, Foster and Kreitzman have done a great job at explaining things for the lay reader and making the book as accessible as possible without losing its scientific rigour. The chapters on human circannual rhythms are much easier to understand anyway, approaching the subject on a more sociological basis to reflect both the effects of complex social issues on our lives and the relative lack of knowledge about our human internal clocks. A very worthwhile and interesting read!
I like the choice of chapters as at each there is a new angle looked at - some are regarding circadian rhythms and the effects of them, and others what might be the cues that govern our cells or whole organisms.
As a Kindle it suffers from not being able to format the diagrams and tables particularly well. I suspect they would make much more sense in the printed version.