Help me naturally select some good books on speciation!
September 17, 2008 6:21 AM   Subscribe

I've become very interested in the topic of speciation lately, but I'm having a hard time distinguishing which books would be the best to start with.

I've heard nothing but good things about Speciation in Birds, but I'm not sure if a somewhat knowledgeable layperson could really get into it.

What I'd like a book that provides a good overview of the field and its concepts, but if you are a biologist with personal favorites those are also welcome. I would also appreciate any information on the books that amazon, alibris and so on are not telling me.

(PS - I like birds, hominids, plants, fish, lizards - whatever - so if you get that feeling of 'Well, I do *love* this book on cockroach speciation, but nah...', you stifle that feeling and post your beloved cockroach book anyway.
posted by palindromic to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Scientific American article from May.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:30 AM on September 17, 2008

I really enjoyed Frogs, Flies and Dandelions.
posted by sulaine at 7:57 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I thought this book was interesting.

I've been told by a few people that this book is a very good read.

If you want a very detailed overview (albeit technical) overview you can try this.

This is another good overview, and is more directed toward a lay-audience.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2008

The Beak of the Finch which is, you guessed it, about the Galapagos finches. It's a short read, and also serves to give you some background to what Darwin was doing on the islands.
posted by artifarce at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2008

Some books on particular regions and/or ecosystems will discuss speciation as it applies to the area they are covering. You might find it useful to look through books like these, although speciation is not their sole focus, and then use their references for further information on any examples they cite that interest you. For example, both Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America and A Neotropical Companion discuss speciation in the neotropics. Tapirs, finches, manakins, currasows, antbirds, and mountain tanagers are some of the examples used.
posted by toodles at 4:12 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have read Ancestor's Tale, since that was one recommendation, and if that gives you a baseline. Otherwise, man. I am rocking the bookstore so hard...
posted by palindromic at 5:14 PM on September 17, 2008

I wrote my undergraduate thesis review on biological invasion evolution/ecology. If you're looking for a good read with lots of technical information about how speciation happens, especially in a modern context, I'd recommend Alien Species and Evolution by George Cox.
posted by expletivization at 8:03 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

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