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Ecology of North America, 2nd Edition




Ecology of North America, 2nd Edition

Brian R. Chapman, Eric G. Bolen

ISBN: 978-1-118-97154-3 September 2015 352 Pages

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North America contains an incredibly diverse array of natural environments, each supporting unique systems of plant and animal life. These systems, the largest of which are biomes, form intricate webs of life that have taken millennia to evolve. This richly illustrated book introduces readers to this extraordinary array of natural communities and their subtle biological and geological interactions.

Completely revised and updated throughout, the second edition of this successful text takes a qualitative, intuitive approach to the subject, beginning with an overview of essential ecological terms and concepts, such as competitive exclusion, taxa, niches, and succession. It then goes on to describe the major biomes and communities that characterize the rich biota of the continent, starting with the Tundra and continuing with Boreal Forest, Deciduous Forest, Grasslands, Deserts, Montane Forests, and Temperature Rain Forest, among others. Coastal environments, including the Laguna Madre, seagrasses, Chesapeake Bay, and barrier islands appear in a new chapter. Additionally, the book covers many unique features such as pitcher plant bogs, muskeg, the polar ice cap, the cloud forests of Mexico, and the LaBrea tar pits. “Infoboxes” have been added; these include biographies of historical figures who provided significant contributions to the development of ecology, unique circumstances such as frogs and insects that survive freezing, and conservation issues such as those concerning puffins and island foxes. Throughout the text, ecological concepts are worked into the text; these include biogeography, competitive exclusion, succession, soil formation, and the mechanics of natural selection.

Ecology of North America 2e is an ideal first text for students interested in natural resources, environmental science, and biology, and it is a useful and attractive addition to the library of anyone interested in understanding and protecting the natural environment.

Foreword viii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

1 Introduction 1

A brief overview of ecology 1

The ecosystem 2

Abiotic limits 3

Climate and topography 4

Soils and soil profiles 4

Biotic community 6

Community succession 6

Plant succession: from pioneer to climax 6

Primary and secondary succession 6

Succession and species abundance 7

The biome concept 7

Biodiversity 7

The “species richness gradient” 8

Biodiversity “hotspots” 8

Patterns of distribution 9

Continental patterns 9

Geographical and ecological distribution 10

Some ecological concepts 10

Niches 10

Ecological equivalents 12

Bergmann’s rule 12

Allen’s rule 13

Readings and references 14

2 Tundra 17

Climatic and glacial influences 17

Soils and geological influences 17

Permafrost 18

Patterned ground 18

Eskers and tundra wildlife 20

Glacial refugia 21

Features and adaptations 21

Plant adaptations to harsh conditions 21

Plant growth and reproduction 22

Decomposition and soil nutrients 23

Some animal adaptations 23

Major vegetative communities 24

Shrub tundra 25

Dwarf birch heath 25

Cottongrass heath 25

Fellfields 25

Invertebrates and tundra ecology 25

Selected tundra mammals 26

Lemmings 26

Arctic ground squirrels 27

Arctic foxes 28

Barren]ground caribou 28

Selected tundra birds 29

Gyrfalcons 29

Snowy owl 30

Ross goose 30

Highlights 31

Absentees: amphibians and reptiles 31

Lichens and “reindeer moss” 31

Snow goose “eat outs” 32

Alpine Tundra 33

Fragile Tundra 34

Impacts of human activity 34

Global warming 35

Readings and references 36

3 Boreal Forest 41

Climatic boundaries and soils 41

Features and adaptations 42

Plant adaptations 42

Animal adaptations 42

Frequent fires 42

Niches in the Boreal Forest 43

Selected biotic communities 44

Tree line and forest tundra 44

Muskeg 46

Coniferous swamps 46

Comparative ecology of lakes 46

Appalachian Extension 48

Mountain balds 48

Highlights 49

The 10]year cycle 49

Wolves and moose 50

A wealth of salamanders 52

Red squirrels 53

Ecological challenges 54

Acid rain 54

Spruce budworm and DDT 55

Balsam woolly adelgid 55

The Boreal Forest Agreement 56

Readings and references 57

4 Eastern Deciduous Forest 61

Climatic boundaries and soils 61

Features and adaptations 61

The forest primeval 63

The layered forest 63

Autumn leaves 64

Ground and leaf litter 64

Mast 65

Biotic associations 66

Northern hardwoods conifer forests 66

Beech–Maple–Basswood 67

Mesophytic forest 68

Oak–Hickory 69

Mississippi alluvial plain 70

Southern Mixed Forest 70

Some associated communities 71

Longleaf pine forests 71

New Jersey Pine Barrens 73

Carolina bays 74

Highlights 75

Acorns and blue jays 75

Deer yards 75

Kirtland’s warblers and fire 76

Franklin’s lost tree 77

Cicadas: buzz in the forest 77

Ecological challenges 78

Declines of neotropical migrants 78

Forest destruction by exotic organisms 80

Reintroduction of red wolves 81

Readings and references 82

5 Grasslands: Plains and Prairies 89

Major associations 89

Tallgrass prairie 89

Midgrass prairie 90

Shortgrass prairie 90

Transition zones 93

Aspen parklands 93

Cross Timbers 96

Western transition 96

Features and adaptations 97

Seasonal grasses 97

Soils 99

Role of fire 101

Prairie streams 101

Prairie wetlands and waterfowl 102

Pleistocene extinctions 103

Selected prairie mammals 104

Bison 104

Prairie dogs 104

Pronghorns 106

Selected prairie birds 106

Burrowing owls 106

Prairie chickens 107

Highlights 108

Riparian forests 108

The Platte River 108

Nebraska Sandhills 109

Ants 109

Isolation and contact on the plains 110

Grassland settlement 110

Prairie preservation 111

Readings and references 113

6 Regional Grasslands and Related Areas 120

Regional associations 120

Palouse prairie 120

California Annual Grasslands 122

Southwestern desert grasslands 124

Edwards Plateau 126

Tamaulipan Mezquital 127

Highlights 129

Rodents and vegetation 129

Channeled Scablands 130

Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area 130

Mima mounds 131

Desertification 132

Readings and references 132

7 Deserts 136

Physical geography 136

Why deserts are dry 136

Desert mountains and bajadas 138

Ancient lakes 138

Features and adaptations 139

Desert soils and surfaces 139

Plant adaptations 140

Animal adaptations 141

The major deserts 144

Chihuahuan Desert 144

Sonoran Desert 145

Mojave Desert 147

Great Basin Desert 149

Highlights 150

Nurse trees 150

“Trees” for desert woodpeckers 151

Boojums and elephants: unique trees 153

Yucca moths 154

Desert fishes 154

Realm of reptiles 155

Of soils and mice 156

Deserts and predators 157

Pygmies of the sagebrush steppe 158

Desert quail rainfall and vitamin A 159

Sailing stones 159

Wheeled threats to deserts 159

Readings and references 160

8 Chaparral and Pinyon]Juniper Woodlands 167

Features and adaptations of chaparral 168

Coastal (California) chaparral 171

Chamise chaparral 171

Manzanita chaparral 171

Ceanothus chaparral 171

Other chaparral communities 171

Interior (Arizona) chaparral 172

Pinyon]juniper woodlands 172

Distribution and ecology 172

Human uses 173

Chaparral and fire 173

Water]repellant soils 173

Post]fire vegetation 174

Wildlife and chaparral fires 174

Highlights 174

Allelopathy in chaparral 174

Animal associates in coastal chaparral 175

Lizards and burned chaparral 175

Pinyon jays 176

Human influences 176

Readings and references 176

9 Montane Forests 180

Features and adaptations 180

Montane Forest zones 181

Lower montane zone 181

Upper montane zone 181

Subalpine zone 182

Associated habitats 183

Mountain parks and meadows 183

Black Hills 185

Redwoods and sequoias 186

Bristlecone pine forest 188

Fire in montane forests 190

Highlights 192

Western chipmunks and competitive exclusion 192

Squirrels bears and pine cones 194

Sky islands in Arizona 195

Monarchs in winter 196

Bears and moths 196

Readings and references 198

10 Temperate Rain Forest 203

What is old]growth forest? 203

Features and adaptations 204

Valleys of rain forest 204

Epiphytes canopy roots and “scuzz” 206

More about logs 207

Succession on glacial till 208

Highlights 209

Bears salmon and forest enrichment 209

A seabird in the forest 212

Some small mammals and their ecology 213

Banana slugs 213

Pacific yew 214

Giant salamanders and other amphibians 214

Mount St Helens 215

Ecological controversy 217

Readings and references 218

11 Coastal Environments 223

Currents and climates 223

Features and adaptations 224

Rocky seashores and tidal pools 224

Sandy seashores 225

Chesapeake Bay 227

Mother Lagoon 228

Submergent communities 230

Seagrass meadows 230

Forests in the ocean 232

Oyster reefs 233

Emergent communities 235

Atlantic tidal marshes 235

Marshes of the Gulf Coast 236

Mangrove islands and thickets 238

Some associated communities 239

Barrier islands 239

Coral reefs 241

Maritime forests 243

Highlights 243

Synchrony at Delaware Bay 243

Waterbird colonies 245

A whale of a success 247

Ecological challenges 248

Natural disturbances 248

Sea]level rise 250

Readings and references 251

12 A Selection of Special Environments 259

The Grand Canyon 259

Caves 262

Arctic ice cap 265

Niagara Escarpment 267

The “Father of Waters” 268

The Everglades 271

Fossil Lagerstätten: Windows into North America’s ecological past 275

Burgess Shale 275

La Brea tar pits 277

The Florida Keys 278

The Great Lakes 280

Habitat highlights 282

Rivers of ice 282

Hot springs and geysers 283

Forest in the clouds 284

Granite outcrops and inselbergs 285

Palm forest 285

Mineral licks 286

Bogs and their carnivorous plants 287

Readings and references 288

Appendix 296

Glossary 309

Index 321

"The disciplines of ecology and biogeography are so closely intertwined that many scholars of these
respective fields are, by necessity and shared interest, well versed in both (Jenkins and Ricklefs
2011). This overlap is evident in the layout of Ecology of North America. With a scalable subject such
as ecosystems, the authors could have approached the discussion of their material from various angles. Their decision to employ a biomestructured theme to describe the assemblage of North American ecosystems is both logical and practical. This approach is certain to be appealing to biogeographers who use the textbook. In fact, this book could be used as a supplementary textbook
in a biogeography class. Ecology of North America will serve as a good introductory text for students interested in the ecology of the continent. The book begins with an overview chapter of basic ecological principles and terms, including sound explanations of succession, biodiversity, and biogeography. Subsequent chapters are individually devoted to various North American ecosystems/biomes. These chapters define the unique attributes of each biome and fluidly address the important abiotic and biotic components of each, along with representative plant and animal assemblages, interactions, and
adaptations, as well as characteristic biome-level disturbances and ecological challenges. Both authors
are wildlife ecology experts, yet their knowledge and understanding of plant ecology and their success in balancing the text between floral and faunal ecological discussions are both refreshing and impressive.....The inclusion of “infoboxes” is a meaningful addition; this type of aside succeeds in adding interest and depth to textbooks. Comprehensive bibliographies are included after each chapter,
and the division of each one by chapter subheadings is helpful......The new edition of Ecology of North
America is a welcome addition to contemporary ecology textbook offerings. The authors have updated
a good introductory text that is highly approachable and readable. It offers a worthy addition
to textbook options in the discipline, and I recommend it as an essential resource for students
and teachers of North American ecosystems" (Frontiers of Biogeography- December 2016)