In Yellowstone, Saguaro and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, scientists help manage natural resources while they study them.
The field scientists profiled in this latest title in the long-running Scientists in the Field series work in natural places that are protected, ideal for long-term studies. Many series titles focus on one scientist or scientific subject, but here, the author-photographer team introduces readers to a grand variety of career scientists: geologist, wildlife biologist, herpetologist, evolutionary ecologist, entomologist and a park biologist coordinating collaborative projects in many fields. Their research areas will appeal to a wide range of readers. Each section is introduced with a postcard image and fast facts about one of the parks. These include reasons to visit and further Web resources. The first section describes studies of two of Yellowstone’s most famous attractions: geysers and grizzly bears. The next two projects involve volunteers (including high school students) as citizen scientists who track Gila monsters and measure Saguaro cacti in Arizona. The Sonoran desert there makes a striking contrast with the “[m]oist mature forest” in the Great Smoky Mountains, ideal habitat for salamanders and fireflies that synchronize their flashes. Uhlman’s photographs are colorful, clearly explained and nicely reproduced. Maps and charts support the text.
A welcome demonstration of the breadth of possibilities in scientific work. (Nonfiction. 10-15)