Atlantic seabirds , Volume 2 - Issue 2 p. 95- 96
This is a noteworthy book, being the first modem review of the family and also a virtual encyclopaedia of published information, formal and informal, learned and anecdotal, on albatrosses. The main part of the book is divided into two sections. The first is on the species or species groups of albatrosses; this is itself divided into three: a) southern albatrosses (mollymawks, sooty and great albatrosses), with introductory chapters on the Southern Ocean and detailed descriptions of their breeding islands; b) tropical albatrosses (only the Galapagos albatross), introduced by a brief section on the equatorial Pacific Ocean; and c) northern albatrosses (Laysan, Black-footed and Steller’s), introduced by a short account of the north Pacific Ocean. These chapters are workmanlike compilations, including many figures and tables, with full account taken of historical data as well as summarising the findings of more recent research. The chapters that seem best balanced to me are those on the northern albatrosses – though this may reflect the lack of much recent research, making compilation and synthesis more straightforward. The treatment of the southern albatrosses was disappointing. The mollymawk chapter is typical in that much space is devoted to oceanic distribution (10 pages) and to the location of colonies on breeding islands (10 pages), whereas the whole of breeding biology is summarised in eight pages and food and feeding ecology in just five. Inevitably, this fails to do justice to the extensive recent research, on a variety of species (some from more than one site), revealing interesting features of the relationships between foraging range, feeding area and features of the marine environment.
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