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International Review of Environmental History: Volume 8, Issue 1, 2022 »

Edited by: James Beattie, Brett Bennett
Publication date: March 2022
This timely special issue of the International Review of Environmental History focuses on animals and epidemics in modern East Asia. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has forced us to think more deeply about the interrelations between animals, both human and non-human, and epidemics. Moreover, the intense attention on East Asia in this context demands that we study the region in the thematic matrix of health, environment, animals, sociocultural traditions, and geopolitics. This collection comprises two parts. The first part consists of three research articles and an extensive commentary. The articles examine, respectively, rabies and rabid dogs in early twentieth-century China, venomous snakes and tropical medicine in colonial Taiwan, and epidemics and animal rights movements in contemporary China. The second part includes three reflective essays on topics of immediate relevance: animals and health campaigns in Mao-era China; insects, particularly silkworms, in vaccine research; and the dominant but flawed scientific paradigm of emerging zoonotic epidemics. The essays are followed by a broad commentary that provides a global and comparative perspective.

Cooperative Evolution »

Reclaiming Darwin’s Vision

Authored by: Christopher Bryant, Valerie A. Brown
Publication date: March 2021
Cooperative Evolution offers a fresh account of evolution consistent with Charles Darwin’s own account of a cooperative, inter-connected, buzzing and ever-changing world. Told in accessible language, treating evolutionary change as a cooperative enterprise brings some surprising shifts from the traditional emphasis on the dominance of competition. The book covers many evolutionary changes reconsidered as cooperation. These include the cooperative origins of life, evolution as a spiral rather than a ladder or tree, humans as a part of natural systems rather than the purpose, relationships between natural and social change, and the role of the individual in adaptive radiation onto new ground. The story concludes with a projection of human evolution from the past into the future. ‘Environmental studies courses have needed a book like Cooperative Evolution for a long time. It is a boon for those teaching the complexity of the evolutionary story.’ — Dr John A. Harris, BSc(Hons) MSc PhD, School of Environmental Science, University of Canberra ‘As a regenerative, holistic-thinking farmer I daily witness the results of cooperative evolution as the seasons unfold. A pleasure to read, Cooperative Evolution gives entry to recent thinking on evolutionary processes.’ — David Marsh, MSA, ‘Allendale’, Boorowa, New South Wales, 2018 National Individual Landcarer Award recipient ‘This book is an engaging new look at ideas about evolution as we know it today. In the hands of two eminent biologists, it presents an approachable yet challenging argument. I heartily recommend it.’ — Emeritus Professor Sue Stocklmayer AO, BSc MSc PhD, Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, The Australian National University

Atlas of Butterflies and Diurnal Moths in the Monsoon Tropics of Northern Australia »

Publication date: December 2018
Northern Australia is one of few tropical places left on Earth in which biodiversity—and the ecological processes underpinning that biodiversity—is still relatively intact. However, scientific knowledge of that biodiversity is still in its infancy and the region remains a frontier for biological discovery. The butterfly and diurnal moth assemblages of the area, and their intimate associations with vascular plants (and sometimes ants), exemplify these points. However, the opportunity to fill knowledge gaps is quickly closing: proposals for substantial development and exploitation of Australia’s north will inevitably repeat the ecological devastation that has occurred in temperate southern Australia—loss of species, loss of ecological communities, fragmentation of populations, disruption of healthy ecosystem function and so on—all of which will diminish the value of the natural heritage of the region before it is fully understood and appreciated. Written by several experts in the field, the main purpose of this atlas is to compile a comprehensive inventory of the butterflies and diurnal moths of northern Australia to form the scientific baseline against which the extent and direction of change can be assessed in the future. Such information will also assist in identifying the region’s biological assets, to inform policy and management agencies and to set priorities for biodiversity conservation. In the media Read the IFL Science article: Incredible Butterfly And Moth Diversity Hotspot Discovered In Northern Australia. Read the Fairfax article: Butterfly 'detective' solves 120-year-old north Australian mystery.

Researching functional ecology in Kosciuszko National Park »

Edited by: Hannah Zurcher, Ming-Dao Chia, Michael Whitehead, Adrienne Nicotra
Publication date: November 2017
Take 30 undergraduates and 20 experts from the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University, and put them together for 10 days in the high-altitude environment of Kosciuszko National Park in the Australian Alps. Challenge them to first identify research questions of potential importance to the survival of one of Australia’s unique ecosystems under threat from climate change, and then to answer those questions in scientifically rigorous and competent ways. The successful outcomes of this challenge are evidenced in this volume of selected and fully peer-reviewed papers. They are all written by students who—after intense pre-field preparation—isolated intriguing research questions, postulated hypotheses, collected and analysed data, and interpreted their findings in the context of functional ecology theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence in the scientific literature. The experts acted as guides and supporters rather than lead researchers, so that the students—most of whom were at the end of their first year of studies—were all tasked with fully realising the concept of self-actuated research. This book has much to offer ecologists, plant and animal scientists, protected area managers and anyone else interested in knowing more about the species of Kosciuszko National Park and how they live, survive, behave and interact. This book is also a showcase of just how much can be accomplished by bright and enthusiastic students who are trusted and guided to use their scientific and ecological knowledge and skills immediately. Much of the knowledge made available in these papers would simply not have seen the light of day except for this innovative intensive approach to research-based education. It is reassuring to know that the future of ecological research is in such capable hearts and minds!

The Human Voyage: Undergraduate Research in Biological Anthropology: Volume 1, 2017 »

Publication date: August 2017
The Human Voyage: Undergraduate Research in Biological Anthropology is a journal that publishes outstanding student articles in all areas of biological anthropology, including primatology, palaeoanthropology, bioarchaeology and human behavioural ecology. While the primary goal of this journal is to publish work of the highest quality authored by undergraduate students, it will also educate students in regards to publishing in academia. All submissions will be peer-reviewed and edited by ANU academic staff.

The Bionarrative »

The story of life and hope for the future

Authored by: Stephen Boyden
Publication date: August 2016
This book is for the general reader interested in the human place in nature and the future of civilisation. It is based on the biohistorical approach to the study of human situations. This approach recognises human culture as a new and extremely important force in the biosphere.  The book discusses the evolution of life and the essential ecological processes on which all life, including human civilisation, depend. It describes the conditions of life and ecology of humans in the four ecological phases in human history, with emphasis on the impacts of human culture on biological systems.  It explains how, as cultures evolved, they often came to embrace not only factual information of good practical value, but also assumptions that are sheer nonsense, sometimes leading to activities that caused unnecessary human distress or damage to local ecosystems. These are examples of cultural maladaptation. There have been countless instances of cultural maladaptation in human history.  The days of the fourth ecological phase of human history, the Exponential Phase, are numbered. Cultural maladaptations are now on a massive scale, and business as usual will inevitably lead to the ecological collapse of civilisation.  The only hope for the survival of civilisation lies in radical changes in the worldviews and priorities of the prevailing cultures of the world, leading to a fifth ecological phase — a phase in which human society is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life. This is called a biosensitive society. The book concludes with discussion on the essential characteristics of a biosensitive society and on the means by which the necessary cultural transformation might come about.

Health of People, Places and Planet »

Reflections based on Tony McMichael’s four decades of contribution to epidemiological understanding

Publication date: July 2015
This book has three main goals. The first is to celebrate the work of a great public health figure, the late A.J. (Tony) McMichael (1942–2014). The second is to position contemporary public health issues in an interdisciplinary context and in ways that highlight the interdependency between the environment, human institutions and behaviours; a broad approach championed by Tony. The third is to encourage emerging and future public health leaders to advocate for policies and cultural change to sustain and improve human health, from a foundation of objective scholarship. The book’s foreword and 38 chapters were written by people who were inspired by Tony; many of whom worked with him at some point in the last 40 years. Its structure reflects five major public health domains, each of which Tony made major contributions to in an extremely productive academic life: occupational health and safety; environmental and social epidemiology; nutrition and food systems; climate change and health; and ecosystem change and infectious disease. The final section, ‘Transformation’, is dedicated to Tony’s desire for public health scientists to propose adaptive and mitigating solutions to the problems they were observing. Each section contains at least one key publication involving Tony. There is also a selection of artworks from an exhibition which formed part of the conference held to honour Tony at The Australian National University in 2012. This conference formed the first part of Tony’s festschrift, completed by this book.

Medical Student Journal of Australia: Volume Five, Issue 2 »

Publication date: July 2015
The Medical Student Journal of Australia provides the medical school of The Australian National University with a platform for medical students to publish their work in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the results of medical and health research information clearly, accurately and with appropriate discussion of any limitations or potential bias.
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Taxonomic Tapestries »

The Threads of Evolutionary, Behavioural and Conservation Research

Publication date: May 2015
This volume explores the complexity, diversity and interwoven nature of taxonomic pursuits within the context of explorations of humans and related species. It also pays tribute to Professor Colin Groves, whose work has had an enormous impact on this field. Recent research into that somewhat unique species we call humankind, through the theoretical and conceptual approaches afforded by the discipline of biological anthropology, is showcased. The focus is on the evolution of the human species, the behaviour of primates and other species, and how humans affect the distribution and abundance of other species through anthropogenic impact. Weaving together these three key themes, through the considerable influence of Colin Groves, provides glimpses of how changes in taxonomic theory and methodology, including our fluctuating understanding of speciation, have recrafted the way in which we view animal behaviour, human evolution and conservation studies.

Medical Student Journal of Australia: Volume Five, Issue 1 »

Publication date: December 2014
The Medical Student Journal of Australia provides the medical school of The Australian National University with a platform for medical students to publish their work in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the results of medical and health research information clearly, accurately and with appropriate discussion of any limitations or potential bias.
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Not available for purchase