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Vernal Pools -Reviews


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"A key strength of Vernal Pools is its coverage of the diverse invertebrate and vertebrate fauna of these temporary water bodies, including discussions of life history and food chains. Colburn discusses adaptive strategies that are necessary for invertebrates to survive in these ephemeral environments. The detailed, referenced lists of faunal taxa will guide students as they assess these relatively unknown aquatic systems. These chapters not only capture the author's vast experience with vernal pools but also her enthusiasm for sharing their secrets with others." - C Michael Falter, professor emeritus of aquatic ecology and limnology, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho (BioScience, Vol. 56, No. 10, October 2006)


"Elizabeth Colburn has written a book that should prove to be a valuable resource to a wide group of people, from land managers to scientists to interested landowners. This is a well-organized, well-written, well-illustrated book. As we become increasingly aware of the ecology and importance of vernal pools, Colburn's book should be one that is readily available on the bookshelf of anyone interested in or working on a landscape with vernal pools." - Craig Anderson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Natural Areas Journal, Vol. 26 (4), 2006)


"The author spent more than 25 years studying vernal pools and other small wetland areas, and is a noted authority in the field. She has produced a highly needed volume which should be read by every aquatic biologist, herpetologist and anyone interested in our national environment. We highly recommend this interesting volume, and also commend the publisher for publishing this awesome book at such a reasonable price, making it readily available to anyone." - Harlan D. Walley and Theresa L. Wusterbarth, Dept of Biology, Northern Illinois University, for the Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society, March 2006


"... the book provides a wealth of information wrapped up in a comprehensive, inch-thick text. This valuable reference should appeal to a variety of people: students and teachers, conservation commission members, town planners, foresters, biologists, and armchair naturalists alike." - Steve Faccio, Reviewer, Northern Woodlands Magazine, Autumn 2005


Vernal Pools: Natural History and Conservation provides a summary of the ecology of vernal pools including detailed species accounts on the myriad invertebrates found in these water systems as well as the life strategies involved with an ecosystem that dries out annually. One of the most important chapters in this book deals with the conservation issues and threats to the vernal pool. In the world today one hears continually of the plight of the oceans, wetlands and various endangered species but the loss of any ecosystem is just as important and Elizabeth Colburn brings a voice to the current threats to vernal pools. Vernal Pools: Natural History and Conservation by Elizabeth A. Colburn will not only appeal to wetland ecologists but to anyone interested in the ecology of wetlands. It is a well written and thoroughly researched gem." - EcoBeetle, February 2005


"... A compendium of superbly organized information about vernal pools and their habitats, and their role as freshwater resources and in the promotional support for biological diversity, Vernal Pools is a core addition to academic libraries, Environmental Studies reference collections, and especially recommended to the attention of land owners, conservationists, land-use policy makers, and environmental protection activists." - James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, The Midwest Book Review, January 2005


"...This is a timely and significant book." - Glenn B. Wiggins, Curator Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Book Reviews from The North American Benthological Society, 2005


"I was impressed with the depth and scope of this expansive book about the ecology and conservation of vernal pools of the glaciated Northeast -- and the flora and fauna within them. Conservation biologists, environmental educators, naturalists, and just-plain aficionados of vernal pools will find Vernal Pools informative and valuable.

"Chapter 1 defines the vernal pools of the glaciated northeast according to five general, but succinct, criteria... The rest of the book expands on this definition, providing essential biotic and abiotic characteristics and natural history of vernal pools, and does so with a sense of respect and wonder for these small, unique wetlands.

"Coburn breaks new ground in Vernal Pools with her proposed hydrological classification of vernal pools (Chapter 2 Hydrology). Colburn’s amphibian chapter (11) is first rate. Chapter 11 and Chapter 14, 'Protecting Vernal Pools,' emphasize the importance of the surrounding wooded uplands as well as vernal pool complexes to the successful breeding of these animals.

"Chapter 13 'Energy Flow, Seasonal Cycles, and Variations in Community Composition' pulls together the dynamics of energy flow and trophic structure in vernal pools. Environmental educators will find this chapter a useful teaching tool, particularly Figure 39, which depicts the general food web in vernal pools.

"One of the most astounding facts that Colburn reveals about vernal pools and seasonal ponds is their high biodiversity on a landscape or regional level. Colburn notes, 'more than 550 species of multicellular animals have been reported from northeastern vernal pools. If animals that have been identified only to the family or generic level are included, the number exceeds 700.' Her appendix, an annotated list of the fauna of vernal pools and seasonal pools, runs 64 pages!

"The strength of Vernal Pools lies in its ecological synthesis of the natural history of vernal pools and their inhabitants, and its message of conservation." - Marsha C. Salett, Editor, Conservation Perspectives, Fall 2004