- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The publisher, Princeton University Press, has contracted with Asakura Publishing Company for the right to translate the 480-page book, Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods into the Japanese language.
“This is a neat development, given that I suspect the Japanese publishers are pretty selective, given the effort and resources needed to translate a technical book like ours,” commented Carey, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology who is known as one of the founding fathers of biodemography and a global authority on arthropod demography.
Asakura, founded in 1929, is an academic and professional book publisher that specializes in mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, medicine, agriculture, humanities, economics, psychology, and others.
The book, which integrates biology, mathematics and demography, “sets the standard as the definitive text for the important, emerging field of biodemography,” according to Robert Peterson, professor of entomology at Montana State University, and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA).
Carey pointed out that the interdisciplinary field unites the natural science of biology with the social science of human demography.
The book is considered an essential resource for demographers, epidemiologists, gerontologists, and health professionals as well as ecologists, population biologists, entomologists, and conservation biologists.
A recent review in the winter edition of The American Entomologist called it "an ambitious integration of concepts, models, and tools from the fields of biodemography (population demographics of non-human species) and classical human demography, which is considered a social science. Given the obvious conceptual and mathematical connections between the two fields, one might assume they are natural bedfellows."
"In reality," wrote reviewer Jennifer C. Geib of the Department of Biology faculty, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., "integration of the two fields has been a decades-long endeavor, involving think-tanks of eminent individuals from all related fields."
Geib praised the "clarity of the writing" and "unusually clear illustrative examples and visualizations."
She added: "I've always known that Thomas Malthus' thinking about population growth and food supply influenced Darwin, but I had never read Malthus' own words. I literally laughed out loud at his articulation of the 'Dismal' and 'Utterly Dismal' theorems— no wonder Darwin was also struck by them."
Geib summed it up this way: "Even if this isn't the required textbook for your population biology or demography course, anyone who teaches such a class needs this as a reference to improve their instruction. This would also be an excellent general reference for anyone (such as an ecologist) who is newly delving into biodemography as an expansion of their work with particular species or interactions."
A recent review in Cell Press explored the definition of biodemography, commenting that "Biodemography is a bridge between biological theories and demography and relies on strong methodological foundations. "By definition, it already integrates several fields of research, but the integration of additional research areas to this interdisciplinary science could help strengthen our understanding of demographic dynamics," wrote Marlène Gamelon and Hannah Froy. "With this book, the authors offer biologists an accessible and practical overview of the demographic approaches that may offer insights into a range of important biological questions."
Gamelon and Froy, both with the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, referenced the 1973 essay of Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light Of Evolution."
They wrote: "Dobzhansky famously stated that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Evolution is driven by the propagation of genes within and among populations, which depends on age-specific patterns of fertility, mortality, and migration. Therefore, it can also be said that nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of demography."
Bottom line: this book is a must-read. We expect it to be translated into other languages as well.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Carey, the lead author of the 480-page book, Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods, published today (Jan. 7) by Princeton University Press, also designed the compelling cover.
The book “effortlessly sets the standard as the definitive text for the important, emerging field of biodemography,” said Robert Peterson, professor of entomology at Montana State University, and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America. "The field is interdisciplinary and the authors have done a magnificent job integrating biology, mathematics, and demography."
Said Professor Tim Coulson of Oxford University: "Ecology and evolution are driven by who lives and reproduces and who doesn't. In recent years, the field of biodemography has developed a rich corpus of concepts and methods to analyze and predict patterns of birth and death. This excellent book provides a much-needed overview of ideas and approaches that will aid researchers, from students immersing themselves in the subject for the very first time to seasoned professors wishing to learn modern approaches."
Publishers describe the book as “an authoritative overview of the concepts and applications of biological demography.”
The interdisciplinary field unites the natural science of biology with the social science of human demography, said Carey, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology who is known as one of the founding fathers of biodemography and a global authority on arthropod demography.
They “cover everything from baseline demographic concepts to biodemographic applications, and present models and equations in discrete rather than continuous form to enhance mathematical accessibility,” Taylor related. “They use a wealth of real-world examples that draw from data sets on both human and nonhuman species and offer an interdisciplinary approach to demography like no other, with topics ranging from kinship theory and family demography to reliability engineering, tort law and demographjic disasters such as the Titanic and the destruction of Napoleon's Grande Armée.”
Carey said the new interdisciplinary field links a number of professions. “It is an essential resource for demographers, epidemiologists, gerontologists, and health professionals as well as ecologists, population biologists, entomologists, and conservation biologists,” he said.
In the foreword, J. W. Vaupel, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany, calls the book “impressive,” and noted that the authors both enlighten and inspire with their “important and innovative ideas, mode of explanation, and the graphic illustrations,” all of which make the book “sparkle.”
Topics range from kinship theory and family demography to reliability engineering and tort law, and also demographic disasters such as the Titanic and the destruction of Napoleon's Grande Armée. It also includes an analysis of the Donner Party tragedy.
The book, according to the publishers, is pathbreaking in that it:
- provides the first synthesis of demography and biology
- covers baseline demographic models and concepts such as Lexis diagrams, mortality, fecundity, and population theory
- features in-depth discussions of biodemographic applications like harvesting theory and mark-recapture
- draws from data sets on species ranging from fruit flies and plants to elephants and humans
- uses a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to demography, bringing together a diverse range of concepts, models, and applications
- includes informative “biodemographic shorts,” appendixes on data visualization and management, and more than 150 illustrations of models and equations
Carey, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley and studied population biology for a year at Harvard while working on his doctorate, joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1980. He served as the principal investigator of a 10-year, $10 million federal grant on “Aging in the Wild,” encompassing 14 scientists at 11 universities.
Highly honored for his research, teaching and public service, Carey is a fellow of four organizations; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Entomological Society of America, California Academy of Science and the Gerontological Society of America.