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March 2017
few are absurdly brief ). This short format was no
doubt a major factor in allowing Mora to make the
extraordinary claim in the preface that all chapter
manuscripts came in on time. The chapter format
makes for easy reading and I am happy to say that
one comes away with a feeling that you have gotten a good survey of the topic at hand. The book
conveys the excitement around coral reef fishes as
well as the complexity associated with addressing
big questions with these animals. Larval biology is
heavily featured and provides several examples of
major questions in reef fish biology that have been
hard nuts to crack. Nearly every species of bony
fish that lives on reefs has a pelagic larval stage; a
period when the fish occupy the ocean away from
reefs (apparently to get the young fish away from
the many hungry mouths found on reefs). Our
understanding of the biology of these larvae has
changed dramatically, as they were originally seen
as helpless drifters on ocean currents, but the modern view considers them sophisticated in their use
of sensory cues, athletic enough to swim without
stopping for up to 100 km, and much more likely
to return to the reef they were spawned than to
be blown away to shores far away. But like so many
reef fish topics this one still desperately needs
study. What factors govern the behavior of larvae
during this period? Do they search only for food,
or do they search for waters that do not attract
predators, and how exactly do they find their way?
Beyond larvae, this book provides nice introductions into the role of competition and predation
in shaping reef fish communities, a terrific overview of not just the fossil record but what it tells
us about how the modern fishes are different, patterns of species diversity in a geographic context,
and reviews of range size, within-species structure,
speciation, and body size evolution. Many of these
historical and evolutionary topics are treated in a
phenomenological way revealing that much work
still remains identifying causal factors: What drives
speciation in reef fish? How do local adaptation
and genetic connectivity among populations balance? Why do we see the global patterns of diversity
we have today? An intriguing part of the volume is
the final section titled Debates and Paradigm Shifts
where the chapters describe the development and
influence of major paradigms that have dominated
the field. This is a nice approach to structuring a
book of this type because it helps convey the importance of key ideas and the dynamic nature of
the field.
The volume makes it clear that we still have far to
go before we can paint a strongly mechanistic picture of the patterns associated with modern coral
reef fishes. The urgency for understanding causality is strong because coral reefs around the world
are seriously threatened by habitat degradation,
overfishing, and climate change. About one-third
of the chapters address aspects of these threats,
what we understand about how they impact reef
fishes, and the viability of approaches that have
been taken to mitigate them. Readers will not find
a thorough exploration of any topics in this book,
but they will get a very informative and interesting
survey of major issues and, best of all, the volume
effectively conveys how dynamic and exciting coral
reef fish ecology continues to be.
Peter C. Wainwright, Evolution & Ecology, University of California, Davis, California
Environmental Sex Differentiation in Fish.
Series on Sex Differentiation in Fish.
By T. J. Pandian. A Science Publishers Book. Boca Raton (Florida): CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group).
$99.95. xiii + 299 p.; ill.; author, species, and
subject indexes. ISBN: 978-1-4822-5437-2. [This
book includes a Color Plate Section with 11 color
plates.] 2015.
Variations in the environment can have profound
effects on the sex of fishes. Even in species with
genetic sex determination, environment can modulate sexual fate, thus environment is important
factor of sexual fate in nearly all fishes. A broad
spectrum of environmental influences on sex spec­
ification is described in this book. The author discusses natural environments and how many natural
environmental variations contribute to the sex fate
choice. Artificial environmental variations such as
exposure to endocrine disrupting pollutants, rearing conditions in aquaculture, and higher temperatures caused by climate change are clearly
related to how the environment influences sexual
fate. These artificial environments are important
to consider with respect to influences on sex ratio
and the maintenance of healthy breeding populations of natural and farmed fishes. This book is a
well-written, comprehensive account of the wide
variety of environmental affects on sex determination in fish with detailed examples of how the sex of
individual species is affected by the environment.
Kellee R. Siegfried, Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts
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