The Carnets de sciences collection publishes works intended for a wide audience seeking to acquire a scientific culture. These works are written by recognised specialists attempting to popularise their fields to answer questions that anyone might ask himself.
The writing is appropriate for non-specialists whilst presenting well-researched scientific enlightenment in a pleasant, easy-to-understand fashion. The reader improves his mind whilst enjoying himself. Initially, a series of questions and answers provides the reader with a basic knowledge of the subject. He can subsequently delve deeper and tackle the more specialised, unusual or entertaining topics. Display boxes at relevant locations throughout the text provide greater detail on some points. A journalistic catch phrase in the chapter heading whets the reader's curiosity.
Social insects live in complex social organisations. They fascinate us with the flexibility of their individual functions, the diversity of their forms of communication, their behaviour and their collective intelligence. They do truly remarkable things that constantly pique our curiosity and creativity.
This book invites us on a voyage of discovery to the North of Antarctica, from Tierra del Fuego to the Peninsula. The authors immerse us in this fabulous southern universe: its geological evolution, its climate, its plant and animal species perfectly adapted to the extreme climatic conditions and also its fragility and what is being done to protect it. Course for the Southern Ocean!
Whether one speaks of hazardous waste, cross-border traffic or the need to sort and recycle, waste is part of everyday life. But do we know what waste really is? Are we aware that even the stars produce waste? That life is impossible without waste? From a scientific point of view, waste is matter. Like all matter, it has the full range of potential, threats as well as opportunities; it can be poison or the source of life. This book tells the amazing story of waste through time; of that produced by the stars to the waste of our civilisation.
An invitation to journey through the world of marine birds which have colonised all the oceans of the globe, from tropical waters to the polar seas. The restrictions of the marine environment have forced them to adapt in remarkable fashion from a morphological, physiological and behavioural perspective. They hold numerous records within the winged fraternity (never-ending journeys, abyssal dives or spectacular migrations) and bear witness to the disruptions affecting the marine ecosystems.
The author relates unusual stories with tremendous humour, including the one about the little bug that blocked the construction of a motorway for two years or the one about "femmes fatales" or vamps (in fireflies!). Single-parent families also feature (case of parthenogenesis), as are the urban hives. The eighth plague of Egypt may well remind us that, since Antiquity, men have had to combat certain insects that devoured their crops or infected them with dreadful diseases, but entomologists and nature lovers will understand here that consuming insects is a genuine hope for humanity.
Without waves and ripples, lakes, seas and oceans would scarcely be more attractive than simple swimming pools. Sometimes their swells become monstrous, ferocious, killer: freakish. How are these ogres of freak waves born, how do they live and die? Do they come out of nowhere? Can ships confront them? Here are a few thoughts on rare events, anecdotes and scientific explanations within everyone's reach, livened up with photos and watercolours.
Since Antiquity, if there has been one mythical animal capable of terrifying sailors and coastal populations, it is definitely the giant squid! Writers and artists with fertile imaginations have given it extreme shapes and sizes. This creature symbolic of the deep has left legend to become a subject of study. Recent captures of animals have partly lifted the veil on the biology and ecology of this invertebrate, the largest and least known on the planet.
The sea not only nourishes us, it can also look after, cure and participate in our well-being. An invisible component exists in this marine biodiversity - the microbial component. Here perhaps will be found new medicines (pain relief, cancer relief, antibiotics), new therapeutic approaches, new active ingredients in cosmetology and new molecules potentially resolving current problems in society. This book addresses a few of the opportunities offered by these micro-organisms and the hopes hinging on these so-called "blue biotechnologies".
Although the beauty of mountains mainly lies in their impressive and varied landscapes, it can also be expressed through particularly attractive vegetation. The plants tell us here the secret of how they adapt to this hostile environment. We pass through the various "vegetation stages" characteristic of our European mountains from their foot to their summit and discover astonishing plants that are outstandingly diverse and beautiful.
The populations of stags, deer and wild boar is exploding in Europe, causing management difficulties in towns and in the rural environment. Who causes the damage: man who destroys the natural environment of the fauna for his financial advantage or the fauna which samples the human productions to survive? The author believes that the balance between the ungulates and the forest or agricultural environments lies in understanding animal behaviour and in regulation through hunting, without forgetting the natural mortality due to the reappearance of large predators. The solution lies above all in the cooperation between users of Nature.