About the Cover – Rafe’s humorous way to explain how difficult was to get the right book cover. Originally posted on Sept. 17, 2012.

The tabloid rumors are true – we had knock-down, drag-out fights about the cover.  Actually, they were just long strings of complaining emails from me and sometimes Anibal, and calm, reassuring responses from our wonderful editor Barbara Dean, that we would eventually get a cover we were all happy with.  I am happy to report that we love the cover Maureen Gately ultimately put together.

We wanted a cover that illustrated the many layers and scales of “Observation and Ecology” – one that combined the ancient ways of natural history with the modern, sometimes technologically aided ways of observing a complex world.  Oh, and we also wanted to illustrate the recursive nature that marks the process of observing  (you observe more broadly the more observing you do), the march of science (it grows and changes based on its past states), and nature itself (it also grows and changes based on its past states).  Not too much to ask, right?

The first efforts at this mashup had all of the elements, but they just seemed too cut and paste–they weren’t really integrated – and that’s where the power of today’s ecology comes from.

The final version is a wonderful collage with a background taken from old whaling ship logs (alluding to the basic natural history, historical ecology, and “citizen science” aspects of the text), a beautiful phylogeny of honeycreepers (marking the integration of good natural history and modern molecular technology), generously provided by H.

Douglas Pratt (check out hdouglaspratt.com), and that somewhat esoteric spiraling clockface, which gets at the recursive nature of time, evolution, science, and our own personal growth of observers.

The cover nicely captures all of these elements – and it looks good too – so put one on your bookshelf today!

About Rafe

Rafe Sagarin is a marine ecologist and environmental policy analyst at the University of Arizona. In both his science and policy work, Sagarin connects basic observations of nature to issues of broad societal interest, including conservation biology, protecting public trust resources, and making responses to terrorism and other security threats more adaptable. Dr. Sagarin is a recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship and has recently published two books, Learning from the Octopus (Basic Books, March 2012) and Observation and Ecology (Island Press, July 2012), which show how nature observation--when extended across large scales and enhanced with both new technologies and greater deference to traditional knowledge sources—is revealing profound new insights about our dynamic social and ecological world. He was a Geological Society of America Congressional Science Fellow in the office of U.S. Representative (and later U.S. Secretary of Labor) Hilda Solis. He has taught ecology and environmental policy at Duke University, California State University Monterey Bay, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Arizona. His research has appeared in Science, Nature, Conservation Biology, Ecological Monographs, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Foreign Policy, Homeland Security Affairs and other leading journals, magazines, and newspapers. He is the editor, with Terence Taylor of the volume Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World (2008, University of California Press).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s