I46 ( 1996) 29 l-296
Book reviews Molecular
genetics in fisheries
Molecular Genetics in Fisheries, G.R. Carvalho and T.J. Pitcher (Editors), Chapman and Hall, 1995, ix + 141 pp., price s24.99, ISBN 0 412 62950X. Despite the research activities on aquatic species of possibly up to 100 or so laboratories around the globe, knowledge of the genetics of all save a few aquatic species is still quite primitive. The recent burgeoning of techniques in molecular genetics, with a range of sensitivity and resolving power, offers numerous ways to advance knowledge in selected species quite rapidly. This book is, then, both timely and topical for it portrays, in a most informative and readable way, something of what these molecular approaches have to offer, both to those who wish to understand the dynamics of fish populations and those who must attempt the production of protocols for management of stocks. The approach is deliberately non-specialist in nature, which should make the important principles it discusses readily accessible to many aquatic biologists. There are eight chapters divided into two groups of four. One group tackles reviews of different aspects of modem techniques, while the second group considers ‘historical and practical perspectives, with particular emphasis on the most promising ways forward’. Some chapters are rather short, but the chapter by Ward and Greve on ‘Appraisal of Molecular Techniques in Fisheries’ and that by Carvalho and Hauser on ‘Molecular Genetics and the Stock Concept’ are particularly useful and comprehensive surveys. However, all the authors are well-regarded experts in their respective fields and convey, in a user-friendly format, informative reviews of the techniques and their applicability to fisheries. While this is in many respects an excellent book, it is in my opinion unbalanced in two respects. First, though what is meant by ‘fisheries’ in the title is not defined, at one level it could be argued that the word ‘fisheries’ means only capture fisheries and excludes aquaculture. With increasing interest in stock enhancement however, the boundary between the two activities will, in some contexts, become exceedingly fuzzy. Some consideration of this overlap (which may have important genetic consequences) would have been useful. Secondly, the book focuses very largely upon waters and species in those parts of the world in which most geneticists are found. The fish populations, whether natural or cultured, of tropical and subtropical waters surely rate
more attention than this. Given the great species diversity, the importance of aquacultural activity and the threats to endemic fish biodiversity from human activities which characterise many of these areas, it is a great pity that the opportunity to discuss how molecular genetics can provide inputs helpful in resolving some of the consequent issues was not taken. Finally, a softcover book, for which one UK pound purchases less than six pages, strikes this reviewer as rather expensive. J.A.BEARDMORE School
of Biological Sciences Singleton Park Swansea, SA2 8PP UK
Physiology of fishes of Fishes, David H. Evans, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, CRC Marine Science Series, 1993, 592 pp., price &81 .OO,ISBN 0-8493-8042-l.
This text titled “The Physiology of Fishes” which has been edited by David H. Evans for the CRC Marine Science Series provides within a single volume a useful summary of knowledge in the field of fish physiology up to the end of 1992. The book is not aimed at aquaculturists per se, rather it was designed as a graduate level or upper level undergraduate text in fish physiology. Individual chapters are written by authors selected from the ranks of active, internationally recognized, researchers in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. This ensures that each chapter is written by a scientist or scientists that have an intimate knowledge of the subject material. The volume opens with a chapter which summarizes the evolution of fishes from the agnathans through to the various groups of teleosts. Subsequent chapters cover the physiology of swimming and buoyancy, the sensory systems, the cardiovascular system and gas exchange, the autonomic nervous system, osmoregulation, acid-base regulation, excretion, thermal biology, endocrinology, reproductive physiology, and finally the physiology of colouration and chromatophores. Naturally when large topics such as these are condensed into single chapters much detail has to be omitted, however, each chapter is accompanied by a useful list of cited references which leads the reader to indepth review articles and the primary research literature. Furthermore, the book has detailed subject and species indices which facilitates its use as a reference text. Chapters that may be of particular interest to aquaculture researchers include the chapters by Perry and McDonald on oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, by Wood on ammonia and urea metabolism and excretion, by Wendelaar Bonga on endocrinology, by Redding and Patino on reproduction, and finally the fascinating chapter by Fujii which explores the physiology of external colouration in fish.