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Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Papers with Commentaries

edited by Mark V Lomolino, Dov F Sax, and James H Brown
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. 1328 pages.

A massive anthology of the essential works in biogeography, from Linnaeus and Buffon through Darwin and Wallace to Mayr and MacArthur and Wilson, together with commentary from leading contemporary biogeographers.


by John C. Avise
Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2000. 464 pages.

Phylogeography is the discipline that traces the evolutionary history of genotypes through space. “John Avise is the acknowledged founder of the field that he has named ‘phylogeography,’” Svante Pääbo writes. “This book presents the intellectual underpinning of this novel focus of research. It is eminently accessible to students and researchers who approach this problem from a practical angle and are not well-versed in the quite complex mathematics that underline many of these approaches.

The Flight of the Dodo

by David Quammen
New York: Scribner, 1996. 704 pages.

Combining history, science, and travelogue, The Song of the Dodo is at once a beautifully written introduction to the topic of island biogeography and a passionate appeal to save the world’s biodiversity in the face of massive habitat destruction.

Here Be Dragons

by Dennis McCarthy
New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 256 pages.

A spirited and readable survey of the history of biogeography, Here Be Dragons teems in accounts of unusual animals and exotic locales. The publisher writes, “The story of how animals and plants came to be found where they are — the story of biogeography — brings together two great theories of life and Earth: evolution and plate tectonics.

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, twenty-fifth anniversary edition

by E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. 720 pages.

When it was first published in 1975, Sociobiology both offered a new biological synthesis, aimed at explaining social behaviors such as altruism, aggression, and nurturance in their evolutionary context, and provoked a fierce controversy, largely on account of its final chapter addressing the subject of human behavior.

The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 544 pages.

From the publisher: “The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of The Ants render the extraordinary lives of the social insects in this visually spectacular volume. The Superorganism promises to be one of the most important scientific works published in this decade. Coming eighteen years after the publication of The Ants, this new volume expands our knowledge of the social insects (among them, ants, bees, wasps, and termites) and is based on remarkable research conducted mostly within the last two decades. These superorganisms ...

Journey to the Ants

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998. 304 pages.

If the 750+ pages of The Ants are too daunting, there’s always Journey to the Ants, which provides a briefer treatment for a lay reader. Chapters include The Dominance of Ants, For the Love of Ants, The Life and Death of the Colony, How Ants Communicate, War and Foreign Policy, The Ur-Ants, Conflict and Dominance, The Origin of Cooperation, The Superorganism, Social Parasites: Breaking the Code, The Trophobionts, Army Ants, The Strangest Ants, and How Ants Control Their Environment.

The Ants

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1990. 752 pages.

The bible of myrmecology, The Ants is not only a definitive guide to its subject but also a beautifully written study, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1991. According to the reviewer for Nature, “The Ants is a stunningly attractive volume that belongs as much on the coffee table as it does on the lab bench. ... The 20 chapters are organized thematically, and they are written in a clear, accessible and engaging style ... Only Hölldobler and Wilson could have written such a comprehensive and integrated treatment of ant biology.

Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006

by E. O. Wilson
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 719 pages.

A wide-ranging collection of Wilson’s writing throughout his career, Nature Revealed contains sixty-one articles on ants and sociobiology, biodiversity studies (systematics and biogeography), and conservation and the human condition, plus a bibliography of his published work. “The papers collected here,” Wilson explains in his preface, “are those subjects to which ants and my boyhood passions led me.

An Introduction to the Invertebrates, second edition

by Janet Moore
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 340 pages.

A short but thorough guide to the invertebrate phyla, Moore's textbook emphasizes evolution throughout, with introductory chapters on "The process of evolution: Natural selection" and "The pattern of evolution: Molecular evidence" as well as a final chapter on "Invertebrate evolutionary history". The reviewer for the Quarterly Review of Biology commented, "Survival is a mark of success, as every biologist knows.


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