Animal Physiology

February 28, 2013

Authors: Richard W. Hill, Gordon A. Wyse and Margaret Anderson
Edition: Third
Publisher: Sinauer
Pages: 725
Price: £51.99
ISBN: 9780878936625

Textbooks come in all shapes and sizes and, to appeal to an increasingly cluttered market, are often laden with glossy pictures, artistic diagrams and modern analogies. The result can be attractive but often lacks the quantity of text and detail that makes a textbook a truly valuable student resource. The authors of Animal Physiology have resisted this trend and have succeeded in producing a thoroughly detailed, well-explained account of life on Earth using text as its primary tool. From the intricacies of energy metabolism to the biology of large ecosystems, each topic is explained in a logical, detailed manner aided by essential diagrams that enhance the text.

The book benefits from a careful three-step approach: a communication of central themes, a thorough explanation of concepts and systems, and a glance at the cutting edge of research. It has succeeded in those aims; however, it is not for the faint-hearted. Although its numerous, text- heavy pages will be invaluable to students undertaking revision, they are likely to deter those with a passing interest, even though the explanations in the text make it accessible to non-specialist readers.

Many animal physiology textbooks deal solely with charismatic, popular mammals such as lions, polar bears and camels; in contrast, this book explores the whole animal spectrum from vertebrates to arthropods and molluscs, giving readers an appreciation of the diversity and, often, similarity that exists within the animal kingdom. Additionally, sections on acid-base physiology and electrochemical gradients take topics that have been known to terrify many a student, render them accessible and put them in an understandable context. Finally, with the aim of offering an appreciation of broader topics, five chapters have been dedicated to explorations of large concepts such as animal navigation, and they bring together a multitude of species with reference to original research.

Animal Physiology promises to be an effective learning tool in the study of the living world. Given its reasonable price and all-encompassing content, students need look no further for a study companion.

Who is it for?
Those studying animal physiology.

Text-heavy but with colourful diagrams.

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