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Can whales communicate across miles of vast ocean? Can elephants talk to one another with sounds we can not hear? Can birds’ calls help us count them in the sky? These are the kinds of questions that drive the work of acoustic biologists.
In Secrets of Sound, author April Pulley Sayre introduces us to three creative scientists—Christopher W. Clark, Katy Payne, and Bill Evans—who have dedicated themselves to researching how and why animals communicate. Sayre explores how new technologies and secret military information recently released are helping these scientists make exciting discoveries. Such work raises as many questions as it answers, and for the scientists (and readers) that’s half the fun.
This book celebrates the challenges of lab and fieldwork and the thrill of discovery. It not only explores the world of animal communication but also highlights the critical role scientific research can play in preserving endangered animals.
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April Pulley Sayre is a writer, video producer, and bird watcher with a special interest in "overlooked, sometimes maligned creatures," including bats, insects, and lemurs. She and her husband live in South Bend, Indiana.From Booklist:
Gr. 4-7. This fascinating title shows the thrill of scientific discovery up close. Sayre profiles three bioacousticians--scientists who study the sounds made by living things, communication that is often outside the range of human hearing. Each extensive chapter follows the scientist into the field: the ocean, where Christopher Clark studies whales; the rain forest of the Central African Republic, where Katy Payne studies elephants; and throughout the U.S., where Bill Evans studies birds in migration. Sayre's text explains scientific concepts in simple, engaging language, and she gives plenty of detail about work conditions, equipment and research techniques, and what it takes to enter the field. Sayre also shows how the scientists' work contributes not only to a better understanding of the animals but also to conservation and protection of the species. Lots of well-edited quotes from the scientists convey their contagious enthusiasm for what they do, and sharp color photos, sound charts, and activity boxes break up the text, making it even more readable. Like Ellen Jackson's Looking for Life in the Universe, reviewed on p.684, this book is part of the consistently excellent Scientists in the Field series; it provides readers with an inspiring introduction to a little-discussed field and to biology in general. Gillian Engberg
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