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Autumn: A Season of Change

Peter J. Marchand.
Publisher New England  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
ISBN 9780874518702
Pages/Publication Date 151/2000
Daedalus Item Code 30144
This item is not available.
The author of Life in the Cold here turns to the previous season of beauty and change, examining the natural and biological phenomena of fall beyond the trees turning, the killing frosts, the bird migrations, and the snap of crisp weather. Describing such topics as timekeeping in plants and animals, food hoarding, seed dispersal, and animal mating behavior among the large mammals of the north, Peter Marchand explains how many remarkable and essential natural processes usually happen only during this period.

"There is much more to the fall season than meets the eye, as [Peter] Marchand demonstrates in this gracefully written introduction to the science of autumn. The spectacular display of leaves changing colors occurs in concert with hidden processes, as plants redirect their metabolism toward dormancy and protection, synthesizing proteins and minerals and storing them in stems and roots. Much about autumn remains mysterious, even improbable—the deathlike hibernation of animals, the migration over thousands of miles of birds, ladybeetles, butterflies, moths.... Marchand, visiting professor of conservation biology at Colorado College, deftly synthesizes the latest scientific research on migrations, the ecology of ponds and lakes, plants' seed-dispersal strategies, the food-hoarding habits of squirrels, foxes and birds. As counterpoint to his detailed text, he includes excerpts from the meticulous yet lushly lyrical writings of early naturalists such as Thoreau, Martha McCulloch Williams, Charles Abbott and John Burroughs. His eye-opening study contains many surprising or little-known facts. For example, 'Indian summer' originally referred to the hazy, milder days of autumn—a haze attributed to Native Americans' burning of prairie grasses, but also resulting from the immense annual production of forest litter, organic matter that produces light-scattering aerosol particles.... Marchand's own 36 black and white photographs focus on autumnal processes that bind living creatures in a cycle of birth, death and renewal."—Publishers Weekly

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