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Tom Wakeford

Liaisons of Life

The classification of living things relies on the concept of a single organism, which can be treated separately from those organisms with which it interacts. In 'Liaisons of Life' Tom Wakeford argues that in fact most organisms are involved in symbiotic relationships, for example many plants are connected to an underground system of fungi, which provides them with vital nutrients. He argues that and this calls for a new way of looking at living things. He also shows how the idea of symbiosis has met a great deal of resistance. Beatrix Potter, for instance, might have devoted her life to the study of lichens if her early research showing their symbiotic nature hadn't been ridiculed.

One criticism I would make is that Wakeford tries to cram too much into some of the chapters, so that the ideas introduced become something of a blur. Into this he throws lots of examples of the 'loner against the establishment' type. This is all very well, but I feel that such examples need more careful consideration for them to be convincing. But the material is presented in a non-technical way and it's an entertaining book to read, so if you want to take a look at the effect the symbiotic viewpoint is having on the biological sciences then I would recommend you to read this book.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0471399728
Salesrank: 2880909
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2001 Wiley
Marketplace:New from $21.80:Used from $2.00
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0471399728
Salesrank: 1603410
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2001 John Wiley & Sons
Marketplace:New from £25.00:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0471399728
Salesrank: 1304583
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2001 Wiley
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 43.16:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
A fascinating exploration of symbiosis at the microscopic level and its radical extension of Darwinism
Microbes have long been considered dangerous and disgusting-in short, "scum." But by forming mutually beneficial relationships with nearly every creature, be it alga with animals or zooplankton with zebrafish, microbes have in fact been innovative players in the evolutionary process. Now biologist and award-winning science writer Tom Wakeford shows us this extraordinary process at work. He takes us to such far-flung locales as underwater volcanoes, African termite mounds, the belly of a cow and even the gaps between our teeth, and there introduces us to a microscopic world at turns bizarre, seductive, and frightening, but ever responsible for advancing life in our macroscopic world. In doing so he also justifies the courage and vision of a series of scientists-from a young Beatrix Potter to Lynn Margulis-who were persecuted for believing evolution is as much a matter of interdependence and cooperation as it is great too-little-told tales of evolutionary science.