The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes

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A new and wonderful world was revealed with the advent of the microscope in the seventeenth century. Since that beginning, littler and littler animalcules were discovered as viewing instruments increased in both magnification and resolution. Though familiar with the streaming globs of amoebae in introductory science, biology education touches lightly on the myriad varieties of microscopic life commonly known as the bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, and protozoans. These microbes are actually the essence of life on Earth, and the author, a Botany Professor at Miami University, stresses that the four kingdoms of the eukaryotic fungi and protists, along with the prokaryotic bacteria and archaea, are unfortunately neglected in science schooling. Without this microbial foundation, life on earth could and would not exist. Beginning with the multitudinous microbial life in his backyard pond, the story expands to describe the range of diversity of microorganisms in the air, sea, and ground. What especially astounds is the hordes of bacteria in the human gut itself. Written with great skill and seasoned with wit, the book displays the expertise of the writer and will appeal to the microbial expert, but unfortunately the scientific details will overly challenge the novice. Translating the content of this impressive book for the layperson would aid in conveying the message that biology education should emphasize microscopic life rather than the familiar macroscopic forms.


Reviewed By:

Author Nicholas P. Money
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publish Date 2014-Mar-24
ISBN 9780199941315
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2014
Category Science & Nature
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