Author: A.M. Lucas


Free-for-all broad brush collecting associated with early Australian coastal and inland exploration had all but disappeared by the early twentieth century, but none the less extensive collecting continues. Drawing on accounts of the last large-scale foreign assaults on the Australian biota and fossil beds, as well as personal collecting experience and controversies of the late 1900s, natural history collecting is shown here to be alive and well – if less adventurous, more focused, and more constrained by legal and cultural restrictions.

In: Naturalists in the Field
Dimensionen vergangenen Handelns
Historische Praxeologie richtet ihren Blick auf vergangenen Alltag. Ihr Interesse gilt dem historischen Menschen in seinem alltäglichen Tun und Sprechen, das sie in Praktiken verortet. Der Band stellt den historisch-praxeologischen Forschungsansatz programmatisch als neuen Zugriff auf die Kulturgeschichte vergangenen Handelns vor.
Praktiken sind erkennbare Muster im vergangenen Alltag. Sie zeichnen sich durch Routinen und Dynamiken, zeitgenössische Logik und Bedeutungszuschreibungen sowie das Mitwirken von Dingen aus. Als Zusammenhänge menschlichen Handelns sind sie bis heute lesbar. Der historisch-praxeologische Ansatz versteht sich als eine Weiterführung von Alltags- und Mikrogeschichte sowie Selbstzeugnisforschung.
Mit Beiträgen von M. Böth, J. Breittruck, J. Esch, A. Mariss, J. Cáceres Mardones, T. Neu, A. Raapke, B. Reicherdt und D. Sittler sowie einem runden Tisch mit N. Buschmann, D. Freist, M. Füssel, F. Hillebrandt und A. Landwehr.

Five specimens of the burrowing python Calabaria (Charina) reinhardtii were radio tracked in a forest locality of southeastern Nigeria. The radio tracking study was conducted both during the dry season (320 locations) and the wet season (400 locations). Each of the specimens was below ground in more than 80% of the locations, both during the dry and the wet seasons. The various specimens were similar in terms of daily distribution of above- ground locations. Above-ground activity was normally confined to the night hours. Thick forest, forest clearings, and swamp-forest were the more frequently used habitat types. Cultivated land was used more frequently during the wet season, and suburbia was in general avoided. Both in the dry and in the wet seasons, the radio tracked specimens used the various habitat types independently of the relative percent surface occupied by a given habitat in the field. Intersexual differences in terms of habitat use were not statistically significant. Above ground, the frequency of utilization of the various substratum types by the radio tracked specimens differed significantly between seasons, but not between sexes. The pythons sheltered frequently inside termite nests, mainly inside those situated in forested spots, and especially during the dry season. All the monitored specimens were located significantly more frequently inside superficial than deep underground galleries, independently of the season. Social groups were observed only during the dry season. Mean daily movement rates were significantly higher in males than in females, and this pattern did not show any seasonal change. In general terms, a remarkable interseasonal ecological homogeneity in most of the examined life-history aspects was observed. This homogeneity could be interpreted as an evolutionary response to the year-round relatively stable and unfluctuating belowground environment.

In: Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution

The last quarter of a century has seen a dramatic rise of interest in the spatial constraints on multisensory integration. However, until recently, the majority of this research has investigated integration in the space directly in front of the observer. The space around us, however, extends in three spatial dimensions in the front and to the rear beyond such a limited area. The question to be addressed in this review concerns whether multisensory integration operates according to the same rules throughout the whole of three-dimensional space. The results reviewed here not only show that the space around us seems to be divided into distinct functional regions, but they also suggest that multisensory interactions are modulated by the region of space in which stimuli happen to be presented. We highlight a number of key limitations with previous research in this area, including: (1) The focus on only a very narrow region of two-dimensional space in front of the observer; (2) the use of static stimuli in most research; (3) the study of observers who themselves have been mostly static; and (4) the study of isolated observers. All of these factors may change the way in which the senses interact at any given distance, as can the emotional state/personality of the observer. In summarizing these salient issues, we hope to encourage researchers to consider these factors in their own research in order to gain a better understanding of the spatial constraints on multisensory integration as they affect us in our everyday life.

In: Multisensory Research

Despite the growing trends in quantitative field studies on tropical snake assemblages around the world, Asian tropical snake assemblages have remained less profoundly studied. A snake assemblage in an altered tropical forest-plantation mosaic in Bangladesh was studied for six months. Data were collected on the species composition and their relative frequency of occurrence. On the basis of these data, some major patterns highlighted by earlier studies on tropical snake ecology were tested. More specifically, we tested, the existence of: (1) non-random habitat niche partitioning, (2) the energetic equivalence rule, and (3) different mean body sizes among snake guilds, with distinctly smaller body sizes being expected among the subterranean species. A total of 374 specimens belonging to 34 different species were collected. High mean habitat niche overlap among species was observed, and there was no apparent non-random niche partitioning by snakes either considering all species together or dividing them by guild. The ‘energetic equivalence rule’ was verified, with larger species being less abundant than smaller species. Body sizes differed significantly across species’ habits, with subterranean species being not only significantly smaller but also revealing the least interspecific variation, and terrestrial/arboreal species showing the greatest interspecific variation. Overall, tropical Asian snake assemblages seem to be similar to tropical African snake assemblages in terms of their general organization.

In: Amphibia-Reptilia