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The Social Amoebae


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Few scientists or authors can claim that the analyses and insights in their latest book are based on sixty years of original research, exploration, and childlike enthusiasm. We should be enormously grateful that John Tyler Bonner could make that claim about the career he has spent with cellular slime molds. His book is beautifully written, enlightening, fascinating, historical yet up-to-date, whimsical when appropriate, and informative throughout in its analysis of two of evolution's major themes--multicellular organization and sociality. -- Brian Hall, coauthor of "Strickberger's Evolution" The Social Amoebae provides a rounded and complete picture of cellular slime mold biology for the interested lay person, but even researchers in the field will learn a lot. John Tyler Bonner ties the ecological context to developmental questions and connects modern molecular data to ingenious experiments performed more than forty years ago. Written in an easy, flowing, elegant style, the book is spiced up with delightful anecdotes, and I very much enjoyed reading it. -- Pauline Schaap, University of Dundee A conversation with all those students working in labs on individual features of slime mold biology, The Social Amoebae might well induce readers to think more broadly about the organism. -- Leo W. Buss, Yale University

Table of Contents

Preface vii Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Chapter 2: The Life Cycle 7 Chapter 3: Evolution 17 Chapter 4: Ecology 35 Chapter 5: Behavior of Amoebae and Cell Masses 43 Chapter 6: Morphogenesis 87 Chapter 7: Differentiation 95 Chapter 8: The Future 121 Bibliography 129 Index 141

About the Author

John Tyler Bonner is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University. He is the author of eighteen previous books, including, most recently, "Why Size Matters: From Bacteria to Blue Whales" (Princeton).


"Bonner does not get lost in abstract realms or in reams of facts. His book is very interesting and even exciting at times. He always stays grounded by returning readers to nature, to the forest soil where the slime molds are carrying out their various life-cycle activities. I was reluctant to put the book down once I started and was sad at the end because I wanted to read more."--James C. Cavender, Quarterly Review of Biology "The Social Amoebae is an enlightening and enjoyable read for the layperson and professional who would like to share in the biological insight and knowledge gained by John Tyler Bonner as a result of his lifelong relationship with cellular slime molds."--Randy Wayne, Bioscience

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