Here is a brilliant introduction to insect and plant ecology focusing on one of nature’s most adaptive creatures, the bumblebee. Survival for the bumblebee depends on its ability to regulate body temperature through a complex energy exchange, and it is this management of energy resources around which Bernd Heinrich enters his discussion of physiology, behavior, and ecological interaction. Along the way, he makes some amusing parallels with the theories of Adam Smith—which, Heinrich observes, work rather well for the bees, however inadequate they may be for human needs.
Bumblebee Economics uniquely offers both the professional and amateur scientist a coherent biological model that goes beyond any particular species or level of biological organization. Rich in specific detail and including an extensive appendix on the rearing of bumblebees, as well as a full-color guide to field identification, this book organizes practical knowledge according to a new criterion.
In a new preface, Heinrich ranges from Maine to Alaska and north to the Arctic as he summarizes findings from continuing investigations over the past twenty-five years—by himself and others—into the wondrous “energy economy” of bumblebees.
This is a remarkable and rewarding book, complementary to, yet in some respects going far beyond, its predecessors. It is highly recommended.
Extraordinary...the implications of work such as Heinrich’s seem to me more resonant than the promise of a rich harvest of new research.
A magnificent book that combines the best of both writing and science...Heinrich has performed a masterful job of sharing his personal research efforts and those of others in his field. He has written an extremely interesting book and in the process has shown how one kind of organism can be used as a model to investigate behavior, physiology, ecology and evolution. Bumblebee Economics should serve as a model for good scientific writing.
Heinrich is the author of several notable books about nature. This one, first published in 1979, is a classic, a fascinating, readable study of life as organized (sort of) by a most endearing little creature. A new preface summarizes findings of the last quarter-century. A splendid work.
- 288 pages
- 0-1/2 x 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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