Vernal Pools: Natural History and Conservation

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McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 2004 - Conservation of natural resources - 426 pages
This is first book-length synthesis of the natural history, ecology, and conservation of the seasonally wet pools that occur throughout the formerly glaciated region of eastern North America -- essentially the Great Lakes Basin, New England, and adjacent areas of Canada and the United States. Introductory chapters define vernal pools; provide overviews of their formation and physical-chemical-hydrological characteristics; and present data critical for assessing, regulating, and managing pool ecosystems. The chapters that immediately follow the introduction explore the biology of microscopic life forms such as bacteria, algae, and fungi and the great variety of higher plants associated with vernal pools. The next chapters delve into the descriptions, distributions, habitat requirements and life-history strategies of pool animals, and the ecological processes and patterns associated with the composition and dynamics of pool communities over time. A final chapter discusses research needs and conservation considerations that are a part of the ongoing effort to recognize, understand, protect, and manage vernal pools as viable elements in the landscape of eastern North America. An extensive appendix identifies all animals that have been reported from vernal pools of the region and describes their habitat requirements, geographic distribution, and life history characteristics. Technical terms related to vernal pools are defined in a glossary. An extensive bibliography contains a vast listing of published literature, websites, and unpublished reports.

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Introducing Vernal Pools
Origins Landscape Positions

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Betsy Colburn developed her interest in the ecology of fresh waters early in life. She spent much of her childhood exploring ponds and streams near Wellesley College and the Charles River in eastern Massachusetts. She pursued undergraduate studies in biology at Brown University and Occidental College and decided to pursue a career in freshwater conservation. Her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, involved masters research on snails of river floodplains in Wisconsin and a doctoral dissertation on aquatic insects' adaptations to life in desert springs and streams in Death Valley, CA. After teaching at Williams College (MA) for four years, Colburn joined the scientific staff of the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1983 as aquatic ecologist. A major part of her work there focused on inventorying the freshwater biodiversity of the state and carrying out research and education on the ecology and protection of vernal pools. In 2001, she joined Harvard Forest, first as a Bullard Fellow and now as aquatic ecologist. She continues her research on the aquatic life of vernal pools, headwater streams, and kettle ponds, and remains committed to public education and outreach directed toward conservation of freshwater life.

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