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!