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The Oxford Animal Biology Series is an invative new series of supplementary undergraduate texts in comparative animal biology. Topics within each book are addressed using examples from throughout the animal kingdom, looking for parallels that transcend taxomy. Further reading sections will guide the student into the literature at greater depth. The series will be international in scope, both in terms of the species used as examples and in references to scientific work. Energy for Animal Life, the first book in the series, is about how animals get energy, and how they use it, a central topic in our understanding of animal biology. Life depends on energy, and much of the activity of animals is devoted to getting the food which is their energy source. It encompasses the food chain, from solar radiation and photosynthesis to food sources for herbiviores and for carnivores, and compares the merits of different designs of digestive system, and of different strategies for finding and choosing food. Of course, animal energy isn't simply a question of feeding, and several chapters in turn look at energy use. The energy costs of motion - of running, swimming, and flight - are discussed in one chapter, and the energetic demands of growth and reproduction in ather. A chapter on body temperature shows how the processes of life go faster at higher temperatures, and discusses how animals regulate their temperature. A final chapter draws all of these aspects of energy use together, and considers the energy budgets of several different animals, assessing the different energy gains and costs of their everyday activities in the wild. The book is truly comparative, drawing on examples from a wide range of animal species, and lots of practical information on relevant experiments is included. The style is very accessible, and suitable as supplementary reading for first and second year undergraduates taking a degree course in biological sciences.
Professor R. McNeill Alexander is at the Department of Pure and Applied Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT. Tel. 44-(0)113-233-2911 Fax. 44-(0)-113-233-2835 A bestselling author as well as a respected academic, he has written several other academic and semi-popular books on topics including animal locomotion, dinosaurs, and human mechanics.