Foundations of Paleoecology: Classic Papers with Commentaries

foundations of paleoecology

S. Kathleen Lyons, Anna K. Behrensmeyer and Peter J. Wagner (eds).
The University of Chicago Press, £48.00

Every scientist surely has their own favourite articles from the scientific literature. The paper that made them think about the world differently, to learn something unexpected, or to find out the answer to a question they had always wondered about, and wanted to find out if anyone had already worked out the answer.

Even though I no longer work in a lab I certainly fondly remember reading various papers from the scientific literature for the first time. And realising that I would be wanting to recommend these to others for years to come.

This is exactly what the editors of Foundations of Paleoecology are doing for their subject specialism. Not just sharing their own and other scientists’ (including museum curators’) choice of pivotal, game-changing, go to papers. Also explaining the background to these important breakthroughs via a commentary to say what the field lacked prior to the selected papers. Explaining how these advanced the science of Paleoecology and why this is important.

Chosen papers are reproduced in their entirety where possible for shorter articles, or featuring selected details of introduction, results and conclusions for longer articles. This book is a fascinating insight into the world of paleoecology. It is perhaps a shame that many journals have A4 sized pages and have been reproduced in miniature to fit the pages of this book making it less easy to read in paperback format. Overall it is however really nice to see the original texts, with good use of referencing to the wider literature for further reading material.

Dr Amanda Hardy MRSB