Practical estuarine chemistry—A handbook

Practical estuarine chemistry—A handbook

Esttraritw, Coastal and ShelfSciertce (19873 25,481-492 Book Reviews Practical Edited Cambridge Estuarine Chemistry-A Handbook by P. C. Head ...

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and ShelfSciertce



Book Reviews Practical Edited Cambridge




by P. C. Head University



198.5, s+ 337pp.,


This book is the secondof a seriesof handbooks sponsoredby the Estuarine and Brackishwater SciencesAssociation and is intended asan introduction to the techniques currently used to collect and interpret chemical data from estuaries. The book is divided into seven chapters written by separateauthors. The first chapter (A. W. Morris) provides a summary of the important characteristics of estuarine systems and the problems and constraints that these imply for the planning and execution of field investigations and the interpretation of results. The secondchapter (T. M. Leatherland) addressesthe difficult question of providing practical advice on operations in the field; areas covered include the choice of sampling vehicles and their associatedequipment, survey organization and safety, collection of water samples, storage and presentation techniques and field measurementsof someparameters. Chapter 3 (I’. C. Head) provides advice on the collection, storage and determination of salinity, dissolved oxygen and organic and inorganic nutrient species.The fourth chapter briefly describesthe problems associatedwith trace metal analysis in waters, sedimentsand biota and the meansavailable for the collection, preparation and storage of these samplesprior to analysis. The chapter finishes with a brief description of someof the major analytical techniques that can be used for the estimation of trace metals. Chapter 5 provides a useful introduction to the complex question of determining organic material in estuaries;the author rightly observesthat this subject is in a state of rapid development and as such does not recommend specific methods, but explores the various approaches possible at present and identifies their advantages and deficiences. The chapter covers both naturally occurring organic material and the complex question of anthropogenic and synthetic organics. In Chapter 6 (M. Whitfield), the role of ion selective electrodes in estuarine analysisis explored, identifying both the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods available and providing practical advice on the estimation of a wide variety of determinands in estuarine regimes. The final chapter (I’. C. Head) describessomeof the more commonly used techniques for the presentation and interpretation of data in estuaries and the obvious pitfalls which should be avoided. In line with the principal objective of the book, this chapter also describes the units commonly used for reporting estuarine data and, where necessary, why these units are preferred to those more commonly used elsewhere. Each chapter is followed by a bibliography which provide a useful, although not particularly comprehensive, introduction to the literature for the newcomer to the subject. The preface to the book touches upon someof the problems and delays encountered in the preparation of the book and the editorial difficulties which inevitably followed and these are certainly apparent in the presentation of the book. The style of presentation and the depth of coverage of individual topics is very variable, there is some obvious duplication between chapters and there is a confusing need to jump between chapters for sometopics. Nevertheless the book does bring together a great deal of useful and, above all, practical advice on estuarine chemistry and achieves its prime objective of providing an introduction to techniques currently available for the collection and interpretation of chemical data in estuaries for the non-specialist at the postgraduate or advanced




undergraduate level. However, the book has a secondary objective, the provision of advice to ‘ employees of pollution control authorities who need to arrange monitoring programmes ‘, and here the authors have been less successful. There is still a need for reliable advice on the design and implementation of practical sampling programmes designed to reliably and cost effectively assess compliance with water quality standards. C.PATTINSON

Cephalopod Edited Academic

Life Cycles,


I. Species


by P. R. Boyle Press, London,






Cephalopod Life Cycles is to be a two-volume work (Volume II is entitled ‘ Comparative Reviews ‘) and, in case you didn’t notice, this first volume alone costs E70. As it was published in 1983what on earth is the second volume likely to cost, especially as I gather its appearanceis way over the horizon! Obviously you or I aren’t going to be able to afford a book like this but, more importantly, the shrinking resources of library funds will make most institutes that I know think twice about buying it, and if that’s true for Britain what about Third World Countries, or those of Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R.? Yet in some ways those are the very placesthat could benefit from what is obviously going to be a minor classic of the cephalopod literature and one that may possibly be of some importance to fisheries studies. The book brings together for the first time an enormous amount of information about the breeding behaviour, reproduction, growth, feeding and ecology of 23 different species of cephalopod, someof them common, others lessso. The data are presented around the framework of the ‘ life cycle ’ (which, incidentally, the editor studiously avoids defining perhaps to keep us on tenterhooks for Volume II where all will be explained), but there is somuch that is new that all students of cephalopodswill learn a great deal from it, whether or not life cycles are their special interest. I found the distribution maps particularly fascinating and useful. But what a pity so few authors included photographs of their subjects! All the chapters are written by experts, with first-hand knowledge of their particular species, and the standard of presentation is uniformly high. Of course, as the authors readily admit, data are scarcefor many of the rarer speciessothat descriptions of their ‘ life cycles ’ are still very speculative. Let’s hope, however, that this will stimulate further research. This need not automatically involve expensive cruises and elaborate collecting gear for, as Dr Mangold points out in her chapter, there is still a great deal to be learned even about that widely distributed and ‘ best-known ’ of all cephalopods, Octopus vulgaris! In short, this is a very useful reference book, and if its high standardsserve asa model for young cephalopod workers beginning to work up data from their own local species,then it will have served an excellent purpose. Yet how useful will this book be to other readers-those interested in fisheries, ecology, the general problem of life cycle strategiesor the factors limiting growth? Well the facts are there (somewhere) but it’s not a ‘ good read ’ (indeed it couldn’t be by its very nature) and those seeking generalities, comparisons, or general conclusions of any kind will have to make them for themselves. From an intellectual standpoint, splitting a work like this into