Download A Less Green and Pleasant Land: Our Threatened Wildlife by Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham PDF

By Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham

Disentangling the proof from the hype, this 'Domesday booklet' of the British and Irish nation-state deals a definitive and updated survey of the nation of our flora and fauna at the present time. Norman Maclean, editor of the bestselling Silent summer time, examines the most recent findings of england and Ireland's best flora and fauna specialists and translates them for a much wider viewers. every one bankruptcy offers trustworthy estimates of animal populations, displaying which species are thriving and that are in decline. The e-book additionally considers the results of weather swap on our flora and fauna and the way human inhabitants development is influencing its improvement. fantastically illustrated with color plates and wooden engravings all through, this available and well timed examine finds simply how quickly our geographical region and its flora and fauna are altering, why we should always be troubled, and what we will do approximately it.

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Sample text

The simplest cells known on Earth today are those of the Archaea already referred to, which occur commonly in hot springs and hot marine vents in the deep ocean. It is tempting to think that early life began in one or more such situations. Notice that the abundant life around thermal vents in the deep ocean, and its possible origin in that situation, contradicts the view taken by earlier biologists, and indeed by the ancient Egyptians, that all life on Earth depends ultimately on solar energy. So far, then, we can conceive of early cellular life evolving from a non-living chemical broth and perhaps resulting in living cellular packages such as Archaea.

14 Let’s begin with the adult frog. It cannot stray more than a kilometre or so from still water, to which it must return to breed. It feeds mainly in the evening and by night, so it has to be adapted to finding and capturing a variety of worms, insects and small molluscs. It can readily move by walking or jumping and needs to have a skin colour which will act as effective camouflage. Indeed it has some capacity to vary its skin colour to tone with its present surroundings, so, chameleon-like, it can receive visual signals about its surroundings and instruct its melanophore cells accordingly.

Thus the waters of the North Atlantic on the western seaboard of Britain and Ireland, and especially western Scotland and Ireland, are kept abnormally warm. Without the Gulf Stream, British winter temperatures would be at least 5°C cooler. When the North American ice sheet melted at the end of the last ice age (about 10 000 years ago), the huge increase in fresh water from the melting ice reduced the salinity of the waters of the North Atlantic, and caused the temporary shut-down of the warm Gulf Stream.

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