This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.
From the fossils preserved in thousands of metres of sedimentary rocks worldwide, representing the last billion or so years of geologic time, we know that many creatures evolved from relatively simple forms to complex hierarchies of plants and animals. Some organisms have changed little over the passage of time, whereas others have become increasingly complex. In some cases, the older rock layers also contain the remains of organisms that lack living counterparts, revealing evidence of past extinctions.
The extinctions occurred when organisms became too inflexible or specialized, or were unable to adapt to a changing environment. The most spectacular extinction is that of the dinosaurs, which flourished during Mesozoic time – the Age of Dinosaurs – and then abruptly died off. Other geologically important, ...