Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology: From Genome to Environment

In honor of our R.S. Friedman Field Station, which studies marine life in the Pine Tree State, we do try to collect materials that might be useful to our researchers. And it seems especially important to purchase online resources that might be accessed as easily in Downeast Maine as Downtown Boston.

We just added one such reference set. It is a high-quality and quite scholarly Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. Although the three volume set was published by Academic Press (Elsevier), we are hosting it on our familiar Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) platform.

The publisher indicates that it is "the first ever Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. It contains over 250 entries written by the world's foremost authorities on fish physiology with topic coverage from fish genomics through to behavior. Extensive entries in systems physiology are integrated with anatomy, the environment, and phylogentics to provide a comprehensive coverage of the field."

It is designed to provide "entry level information for students and summary overviews for researchers alike. Broadly organised into four themes, articles cover Functional, Thematic, and Phylogenetic Physiology, and Fish Genomics. Functional articles address the traditional aspects of fish physiology that are common to all areas of vertebrate physiology including: Reproduction, Respiration, Neural (Sensory, Central, Effector), Endocrinology, Renal, Cardiovascular, Acid-base Balance, Osmoregulation, Ionoregulation, Digestion, Metabolism, Locomotion, and so on." Then the set continues with overview articles on many related topics, even including subjects like the effects of climate change on fish.

Just click our link reach the encyclopedia. On the landing page, you can explore the Table of Contents or Index from gray tabs in the middle of the screen, or simply search key words in the search box to the left.

When I do a search for hearing, I get a wide variety of articles, from "Sound Source Localization and Directional Hearing in Fishes" to "The Ear and Hearing in Sharks, Skates and Rays" to "Fish Bioacoustics" to "Psychoacoustics: What Fish Hear."

The text is first presented in HTML, which you can translate, listen to, and work with in other ways. You can also download or print an entry in PDF form. (If you click a PDF option and don't like the way it displays, look for the Download button in the gray frame and open it in Adobe.)

Like all good encyclopedias, "Further Reading" is suggested at the end of each authored entry. And every article is richly illustrated with photos, diagrams, charts and tables, as in this example:

The review journal Choice was impressed. They called it "a major editorial accomplishment. Publication of this set involved the cooperation of more than 200 experts from 20 countries--a truly international collaboration."

Choice went on to say that "the individual articles in each volume are concise, authoritative, and beautifully illustrated with color photographs and drawings. A practical advantage of this encyclopedia is that it brings everything together into three volumes, providing a comprehensive reference work."

Those interested in Marine Biology and Animal Physiology will hopefully find this a reliable starting point for many research topics.

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