Largely based on materials used in undergraduate programmes that the lead author, Professor Chris Parsons, has contributed to at a number of UK and US universities ‘An Introduction to Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation’, is arguably the first complete up-to-date introductory text for students that covers both the full range of marine mammal species and the many issues that affect them.
This book will be helpful for anyone interested in these animals and their conservation and who might feel that they lack a starting place to understand them. It will also be helpful to students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses concerned with marine conservation and conservation issues more generally.
This large paperback has been deliberately produced to allow it to be within the purchasing power of students (it under £40). Nonetheless its 350 pages are highly and clearly illustrated and provide a well-researched and knowledgeable introduction to a wide range of topics. The main species covered include all the pinnipeds (the seals and sea lions), the sirenians (the sea cows) and the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), and other chapters feature the sea and marine otters and polar bears.
The opening section on General Biology covers Evolution, Classification and Diversity, Adaptations to a Marine Environment and Underwater Sound. Part Two looks at the Ecology and Statuses of the various taxonomic groups and then, in Part Three, the focus is conservation. In its third and concluding section, the book, really comes into its own with excellent introductions to the relationship between these animals and people through the ages; a chapter devoted to Whaling and the International Whaling Commission; quite detailed chapters on threats to cetaceans and pinnipeds; and finally chapters reviewing marine mammal laws and marine mammal-related tourism. The book concludes with a interesting review of research techniques.
Key features of the book include
– that it is highly illustrated;
– that each chapter comes with an extensive list of references and further reading for those that wish to know more about any topic; and
– the use of numerous ‘Exploring the Depths’ boxes inserted into the main text. These boxes provide a further insight into key topics such as ‘Dolphin Intelligence’ and ‘Conservation of the Dugong’ and are mainly contributed by a wide range of guest contributors. They help make the book a lively and stimulating read.
Book details: it is 350 pages long; Published by Jones & Bartlett Learning; written in English and all diagrams and photos are in black and white. ISBN-10: 0763783447; ISBN-13: 978-0763783440. The current price on Amazon.com is £36.99 with free delivery.
Professor ECM (Chris) Parsons during a recent expedition on the Panama Canal