The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

Sean B. Carroll. Princeton Univ, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-691-16742-8
In this thoroughly engaging book, Carroll (Remarkable Creatures), a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, persuasively argues that life at all levels of complexity is self-regulated, from the inner workings of cells to the larger relationships governing the Serengeti ecosystem. This means that when disease occurs at any level, something is likely to have gone amiss with that natural regulation. Carroll brings this relatively simple point to life by briefly relating the stories of a handful of scientists who were responsible for discovering the underlying rules of self-regulation. He introduces readers to Walter Cannon, the physiologist who introduced the concept of homeostasis; Robert Paine, the ecologist who promoted the idea of a keystone species; Jacques Monod, the biologist who began to unravel how genes are turned on and off; and Tony Sinclair, the zoologist who shed light on complex trophic relationships controlling animal numbers on the Serengeti. Investigating how basic principles have been harnessed to solve some of Earth’s most pressing ecological problems, Carroll remains unabashedly optimistic about possibilities for the future, citing the amazing efforts that have restored a wealth of wildlife to Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. Carroll superbly animates biological principles while providing important insights. Photos & illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-1723-6
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-4008-8026-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-691-17568-3
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4008-8554-1
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