Sensory Ecology: How Organisms Acquire and Respond to Information

Front Cover
W.H. Freeman, 1992 - Science - 558 pages
All organisms depend on the ability to obtain and react appropriately to information from the environment. Because the manifestations of this ability are as diverse as bioluminescence in fireflies and Pacific Islanders' navigational talent, our knowledge of the mechanisms governing its use has been scattered among various disciplines, and our understanding has consequently been fragmentary - until now. In a unique synthesis of knowledge from physics, microbiology, botany, animal behavior, and psychology, Sensory Ecology provides a universal approach to understanding how organisms acquire and use environmental information. To illustrate the basic principles that determine the flow of sensory information in all organisms, Sensory Ecology emphasizes strategies for obtaining and responding to information, such as sounding and communication, which are employed throughout the phylogenetic spectrum, rather than individual behaviors which are often species-specific. Sensory Ecology presents the first universally applicable terminology based on these fundamental strategies shared by bacteria, plants, and animals. Well-crafted and gracefully written, Sensory Ecology incorporates previously unassociated data from ecology and physiology in an innovative conceptual framework that will stimulate new research and prompt reinterpretation of old experiments. The exceptionally clear exposition of physical principles and mathematical equations invites quantitative predictions, and original graphs engender a nonmathematical appreciation of ecological phenomena. An interdisciplinary perspective of extraordinary breadth expressed in lucid, enjoyable prose makes Sensory Ecology appealing and appropriate forreaders in a range of disciplines - including behavioral ecology. ethology and behavior, sensory physiology. applied environmental science, neurobiology, sensory psychology. entomology, microbiology, agriculture, and mathematics concerned with biological applications of information theory.

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