The pulse of life with the seasons is a classic theme of biology, equally cap turing every man's curiosity about early and late milestones of every year's cycle and the critical physiologist's inquiry into life's subtle signals and responses. Natural historians of ancient and renaissance time as well as today have charted the commonsense facts behind inspired traditions of poetry and practical rules for growing food and fiber. This volume brings together several ways of organizing the basic principles of phenology. These find order in the otherwise overwhelming mass of detail that captures our fleeting attention, like the daily newspaper, and then tends to fade into the overstuffed archives of history. Is this order so obvious and understandable that there is no longer any scien tific challenge to "phenology" as a tradition? Or does apparent simplicity mask a complex and ultimately baffling obstacle to the understanding of seasonality in even those few indicator plants and animals we know best, not to men tion the less known species or races making up the rest of each major land scape unit or ecosystem? Denying both these hasty opinions, we think that this volume well illustrates a range of questions and answers-from soundly established (but not trivial) doctrine to exciting inquiry about how ecosystems are organized.
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