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The Nature Essay

Ecocritical Explorations

Simone Schröder

The Nature Essay: Ecocritical Explorations is the first extended study of a powerful literary form born out of the traditions of Enlightenment and Romanticism. It traces the varied stylistic paradigms of the ‘nature essay’ down to the present day. Reading essays as platforms for ecological discourse, the book analyses canonical and marginalised texts, mainly from German, English and American literature. Simone Schröder argues that the essay’s environmental impact is rooted in its negotiation of scientific, poetic, spiritual, and ethical modes of perceiving nature. Together, the chapters on these four aspects form a historical panorama of the nature essay as a genre that continues to flourish in our time of ecological crisis.

Authors discussed include: Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, W.G. Sebald, Kathleen Jamie, and David Foster Wallace.
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Corrado Battisti and Francesca Marini

We report data on the effects of coppice management on breeding birds in paired oak woods of central Italy using a Before-After-Control-Impact sampling design, hypothesizing that this practice strongly affect abundance, richness and diversity at community level. Using point count method, we obtained first evidence of a coppice management effect acting as a stressor on the breeding bird assemblage structure. We observed a significant decrease in averaged species richness and abundance in coppiced areas before and after the coppicing practices, differently from the control area. Analogously, regression lines derived by species frequencies in diversity/dominance diagrams showed a different trends when comparing the coppiced areas before and after the cutting, indicating a stress in the latter. This pattern is supported by the H’ diversity and evenness values that changed abruptly between years only in the coppiced area. These changes can be related to the significant reduction in tree plant density before and after cutting, especially for those with a diameter between 7.5 and 23 cm.

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Jong Myong Park, Ji Won Hong, Jin-Soo Son, Ye-Ji Hwang, Hyun-Min Cho, Young-Hyun You and Sa-Youl Ghim

This review focuses on the state of research on the microbial resources of Dokdo, Korea, as a strategy for securing national microbial resources. In the Korean peninsula, studies aimed at securing microbial resources are carried out across diverse natural environments, especially in the Dokdo islands. Until 2017, a total of 61 novel microbial genera, species, or newly recorded strains have been reported. Among these, 10 new taxa have had their whole genome sequenced and published, in order to find novel useful genes. Additionally, there have been multiple reports of bacteria with novel characteristics, including promoting plant growth or inducing systemic resistance in plants, calcite-forming ability, electrical activation, and production of novel enzymes. Furthermore, fundamental studies on microbial communities help to secure and define microbial resources in the Dokdo islands. This study will propose several tactics, based on ecological principles, for securing more microbial resources to cope with the current increase in international competition for biological resources.

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Yong-hua Zhu, Sheng Zhang, Biao Sun, Xiao-kang Xi, Yu Liu and Xiao-hong Shi

Quantification of the pattern and spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) is essential to comprehending many eco-hydrological processes. To obtain a better understanding of the spatial variability of SOC in a typical farming-pastoral zone, 270 soil samples were collected at 45 sampling sites from every 20 cm soil layer. Semi-variance function theory and ordinary Kriging interpolation were applied to identify the spatial variability of SOC. The results showed that SOC in the area was relatively low and decreased with depth and from the basin edge to the centre with a measured mean content of 0.07–0.65 g/kg. The strongest variability in the zone in the top soil layer (0–40 cm) was in the centre part of the zone, which was supposed to be the most concentrated area of human activities in the zone. As soil depth increase, the degree of variation of SOC decreased. Gaussian, exponential, and spherical models were suggested to successfully simulate SOC in different soil depth zones. The spatial distribution of SOC showed strong variability in the same soil depth zone, with a nugget to sill ratio of less than 14% and a range of 30–160 km.

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Zulkiya Namazbaeva, Sharbanu Battakova, Lyazat Ibrayeva and Zhanbol Sabirov

Risk factors in Aral Sea region include toxic metals that competitively interact with essential elements influencing their metabolism, affecting metabolic and cognitive functions. According to epidemiological data, cerebrovascular disease and thyroid function abnormality are the leading disorders. Cognitive and metabolic disorders are considered as risk factors in cerebrovascular diseases. Thus, the objective of current work was to determine the metabolic and cognitive state of people in Aralsk, associated with an imbalance of essential trace elements and find correlation between toxic metals load and psychoemotional status. 275 people between the ages of 21 and 45 years were involved. In evaluating cognitive state, a decrease in short-term memory for numbers and an increase in depression among subjects was found. An inverse correlation between the copper level in blood and short-term memory for numbers, between depression and iodine level in blood, between the zinc level in blood and the “attentional capacity” was also found. The results showed a significant metabolic stress among subjects during adaptation to a high chemical load. Data represent a cross-sectional age-dependent review of metabolic and cognitive processes and microelement metabolism among population, living in the Aral Sea region for a long time.

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Aitzhamal S. Mussina, Gaukhar U. Baitasheva, Meruyert S. Kurmanbayeva, Galia J. Medeuova, Adilhan A. Mauy, Elmira M. Imanova, Akbota Zh. Kurasbaeva, Zaida S. Rachimova, Yerlan S. Nurkeyev and Kanat Orazbayev

Reaction of the plant body in polluted conditions allows estimating the anthropogenic impact on the environment. The aim of this work is to study anatomical and morphological changes of juniper in terms of the polymetallic pollution of the environment and under the influence of heavy metals. The assessment of some heavy metals impact on juniper was conducted after the planting of seed samples in the soil and obtaining good germination. The juniper has been treated with heavy metal solutions in the lab for 4 months. To determine the anatomical structures of the leaves of the juniper, the samples were fixed by the Strasburger-Fleming method. Under the influence of urban air, negative anatomical and morphological changes of juniper were discovered, the significant increase in the thickness of the needles, the thickness of the conducting bundle and the thickness of the epidermis was noted, that, apparently, provides higher resistance to man-induced pollution. It is shown that the process of environmental restoration can be done due to self-purification by using adsorption properties of leaves of woody plants, for example juniper, that is able to absorb heavy metals (lead, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, nickel, zinc and copper) from urban air. It was first discovered that the effects of heavy metals (lead and nickel) as the nutrient medium leads to the significant changes of the leaves’ anatomical structure (the swelling of the phloem, some decondensation in the mesophyll). The research results allow recommending the juniper for phytoremediation, bioindication and landscape gardening of cities and settlements in different countries.

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Carmen Cusack

Fish, Justice, and Society is an in-depth look into the fishing industry, fish, and aquatic environments. This book delves past the façade of what may be known by the average fisherman, bringing to the surface new information about numerous species and aquatic habitats. It is the most comprehensive book on the subject of fish, law, and human behavior. It is a standalone work, but complements Cusack’s Fish in the Bible (2017). It is a treatise on the subject of animal law while also serving the common fisherman information on compliance issues.
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Edited by Charles Fransen

This volume is dedicated to the memory of the eminent carcinologist Michael Türkay, of the Research Institute and Natural History Museum Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is a tribute to his outstanding international contribution to the study of decapod crustaceans. An extensive account of Michael’s life and achievements is presented, along with thirty-one scientific papers by 62 of his friends and colleagues from around the world. The book’s focus is almost entirely on decapod crustaceans, and covers a variety of topics, including taxonomy, systematics, zoogeography, morphology, palaeontology, genetics, general biology and ecology. Numerous new taxa are described from a number of marine and freshwater groups, including one new genus and 13 new species named in honour of Michael himself.

The contents of this volume were originally published in 2017 in Crustaceana volume 90, issue 7-10.
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P. Castro

Abstract

Examination of the western Pacific material of goneplacoid crabs (families Euryplacidae and Goneplacidae) in the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt a. M. (Germany) particularly uncatalogued material examined by Tune Sakai, allowed the discovery of the holotype of Eucrate formosensis Sakai, 1974 (Euryplacidae), as well as the identification of some rarely collected species.

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Keiji Baba and Enrique Macpherson

Abstract

A new species of chirostylid squat lobster, Uroptychus tuerkayi sp. nov., is described based upon material collected by the French “Seamount 2” project (1993) from the Atlantis-Great Meteor Seamount Chain south of the Azores Islands, at a depth of 340-730 m. Uroptychus tuerkayi resembles U. maroccanus Türkay, 1976 from the Moroccan coast, but it can be readily distinguished by the eyes being distinctly longer instead of as long as broad (globular in U. maroccanus), the antennal article 5 with a small instead of prominent distomesial spine, the anterolateral spine of the carapace slightly smaller than or subequal to, instead of much smaller than the lateral orbital spine, the pterygostomian flap anteriorly acuminate and not strongly produced to a spine as in U. maroccanus, and in having pereopod 1 with obsolescent instead of distinct spines on the merus and carpus. This is the sixth species of Uroptychus from the eastern Atlantic. A key to the eastern Atlantic species of Uroptychus is provided.