Which species can be saved, when all cannot? "Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis" provides critical tools for finding answers to the current of systematic biology. Systematists are in a unique position to identify ciritcal areas of endemism and additional criteria for the identification of habitats and species most urgently in need of protection. The result of a symposium held at the American Museum of Natural History, this book fills a void created by other volumes that have explored the biodiversity crisis exclusively from an ecological stance."It may well be that the dynamics of extinction processes will prove to be exclusively in the domain of moment-by-moment interactive processes of matter-energy transfer: the realm of ecology. But the problems of extinction," Eldredge argues, "can be defined, recognized, measured, and assessed only through the tools of the systematists, paleontologists, and ecologists who explore the relationship between ecology and systematics as it pertains to understanding the origin, maintenance, and loss of biological diversity. The role of museums, zoos, and related institutions is also examined.
At a time when our country has only recently awakened to the environmental crisis, "Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis" provides urgently needed information for any attempts to understand and ameliorate the present dilemma of extinction and preservation.
Niles Eldredge is a Curator in the Department of Invertebrates, the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Among his recent books are The Miner's Canary: Unraveling the Mysteries of Extinction and Fossils: The Evolution and Extinction of Species. He has coauthored and edited many books, including Phylogenetic Analysis and Paleontology, Phylogenetic Patterns and the Evolutionary Process, The Myths of Human Evolution, and the Natural History Reader on Evolution, published by Columbia University Press.