Tewkesbury Walks: An Exploration of Biogeography and Evolution


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Tewkesbury Walks: An Exploration of Biogeography and Evolution Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Springer International Publishing AG
string(3) "107"
Pages: 107 Illustrations and other contents: 75 Illustrations, color; 7 Illustrations, black and white; VI, 107 p. 82 illus., 75 illus. in color. Language: English ISBN: 9783319015439 Categories: , , ,

The book is composed of eight chapters, each of which are organised as walks around the Tewkesbury (UK) countryside, which move from the specific to increasingly broader ideas. So, the MS starts with an individual’s relationship to their environment (Avon and Severn Valleys Loop) that leads to a description of conservation issues at local, national and international levels, and ultimately to a discussion of the importance of Citizen Science (Coombe Hill – Apperley -Deerhurst). The following chapter (Mythe Bridge – Forthampton – Tewkesbury) looks at science as it is actually practiced and its role in modern society by an analysis of the theory of Continental Drift and a biography of Alfred Wegener. This is a story that really deserves a much wider audience, as the idea was, in my opinion, as revolutionary as general relativity or quantum mechanics, and Wegener himself was such a heroic character. The following chapter (Tewkesbury Ham) also uses biography – this time of Alfred Russel Wallace – to investigate his ideas about how animal and plant distributions are inextricably linked to geological change. Wallace was every bit as heroic as Wegener, lived an even more adventurous life, and also deserves to be more widely known and appreciated. 2013 is the centenary of his death and he will be much in the news this year, so it would be timely to publish an account of his life and work suitable for the general public. The chapters on Wegener and Wallace set the scene for a detailed discussion of biogeography. This has been an active area of research for the past 30 years and I think it’s about time that somebody wrote about what has been an intellectually exciting and profoundly significant development in our view of ourselves and the world we live in.

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From the reviews: "Tewkesbury Walks is a well-written, pithy, and introspective volume on the history of biogeography and the foundations of evolution. ... volume is divided into eight essays, each of which contains a guided walk through the country areas in and around Tewkesbury ... . The essays fill an important niche, namely the personal commentary of a practicing biogeographer and are aimed at both a popular and a scientific audience. ... I highly recommend Tewkesbury Walks to the readers of Systematic Biology." (Malte C. Ebach, Systematic Biology, Vol. 63 (3), May, 2014)

Author Biography

Bernard Michaux serves as HS Manager at the Titirangi Steiner School in New Zealand. He contributed to Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace (Oxford University Press, 2010).