Stream Ecology: Structure and function of running waters Paperback – 2 Jun 2010
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From the reviews of the second edition:
"There is a continual need for current introductory material in key ecological areas. … This is an interesting text. It has a wealth of detail … that means it is for the more ‘advanced’ beginner. … However, it does provide both teachers and field study centres with a much-needed overview of stream ecology. … Overall, a must for the field centre and a good starter text in stream ecology." (TEN News, October, 2007)
"Allan and Castillo offer this superb compilation of both the latest and time-honored concepts of the ecology of fluvial systems at scales ranging from small mountain brooks to large, continental- sized river basins. Richly illustrated and with more than 1,500 reference citations, the book is divided into 14 chapters … . Best of all, the book is written in a lively, engaging manner and with remarkable clarity, given the technical nature of the material. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." (P. R. Pinet, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (7), 2008)
"The second edition of the book ‘Stream Ecology’ covers the key ecological factors and processes in a very variable ecosystem … . I recommend ‘Stream Ecology’ to people with knowledge of the basics of ecology, e.g., graduates and advanced undergraduates … . To my knowledge, there is no other book available, which gives such a good overview of the issue. One gets a very good, fluidly readable book which contains the latest key scientific knowledge of the ecology of running waters." (Daniel Graeber, International Review of Hydrobiology, Vol. 94 (2), 2009)
From the Back Cover
Stream Ecology: Structure and Function of Running Waters is designed to serve as a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and as a reference source for specialists in stream ecology and related fields. The Second Edition is thoroughly updated and expanded to incorporate significant advances in our understanding of environmental factors, biological interactions, and ecosystem processes, and how these vary with hydrological, geomorphological, and landscape setting.
The broad diversity of running waters – from torrential mountain brooks, to large, lowland rivers, to great river systems whose basins occupy sub-continents – makes river ecosystems appear overwhelming complex. A central theme of this book is that although the settings are often unique, the processes at work in running waters are general and increasingly well understood.
Even as our scientific understanding of stream ecosystems rapidly advances, the pressures arising from diverse human activities continue to threaten the health of rivers worldwide. This book presents vital new findings concerning human impacts, and the advances in pollution control, flow management, restoration, and conservation planning that point to practical solutions.
Reviews of the first edition:
".. an unusually lucid and judicious reassessment of the state of stream ecology"
"..provides an excellent introduction to the area for advanced undergraduates and graduate students…" Limnology & Oceanography
"… a valuable reference for all those interested in the ecology of running waters."
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
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Although the authors do a good job of picking through the extensive literature in this field they do not distill the message clearly in many sections. Subheadings are used to combine the many sources that are used, but do not build a larger picture of streams. In an attempt to display the range and variation in streams the authors have gotten lost in the details. Without a clear larger message at each part it can often feel like a brain dump.
The summaries at the end of the chapter suffer in a similar way, and are extremely dry and do not build the larger picture of a stream.
The book does have plenty of information, and although there are some complicated figures, most figures are useful.
For students interested in the field I will recommend this book until another version or a better book is produced. For those not familiar with the topic I would not recommend this book. It is too dry and technical without a clear picture of what a stream is, to be useful.
There are 14 chapters in this book that all talk about a different aspect of streams such as : human impact, streamflow, abiotic environment and trophic relationships. The double-column formatting is broken every once in a while to include a graph or image that helps explain what the textbook is saying. Each chapter also has a one page summary that helps you recall all that you read.
4/5 stars: good book chock full of information in text and pictorial form. Just wish it wasn't such a slow read. But then again, which textbook isn't?
For instance, here's what I encountered as I researched what and how fish eat (feeding ecology of riverine fishes): "Herbivorous fishes with scraping mouthparts such as the stoneroller Campostoma anomalum clearly have little in common with ooze feeders such as the blunt-nose minnow Pimephales notatus. Some benthic invertebrate feeders utilize prey primarily from soft bottoms (the suckermouth minnow Phenacobius mirabilis), others from stony bottoms (the greenside darter Etheostoma blennioides)."
On the other hand, for biologists and advanced students of ecology the book presents a comprehensive exposition of technical information. And the rest of us, who may not be equipped to cut through the scientific jargon, will still take away a sense of the intricacy and complexity of the living systems of streams and rivers.
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