In between all the writing (and procrastinating) and illustrating and lecturing and completing paper-work and counselling students and swearing at the global emails and face-palming at their contents, I'm still managing to do the rounds of my favourite blogs — even if I'm not contributing to my own. I'll get back to that soon. I promise.
I have a backlog of books to get through too. My evolutionary biologist friend Menno Schilthuizen sent me a copy of his latest work, The Loom of Life, which has gone straight to the top of the pile. I'll review it here. It's the wittiest ecology text I've ever read and I wish I'd looked at it before I gave my community ecology lectures this year. I would have stolen all the one-liners and passed them off as my own.
... I have presented the pyramid as made up of flat polished layers: primary consumers eat only producers and nothing else; secondary consumers only eat members of the primary layer and never touch a plant. Yet nature is not so neat: omnivores get their energy at several different trophic levels and it is sometimes a Clintonian judgment call whether a species has trophic relations with another species if it only occasionally consumes it.