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Top 10 Best Ecology Textbooks in 2017 Reviews

Understanding biology is one of the most interesting and important subjects in our world today. Unfortunately, most students still find it hard. This has highly been contributed by the complex publications offered to the students to digest. For years, there has always been a wide gap between “Ecology” and “How to understand Ecology.”

Luckily, most philosophers and authors have identified this niche. More friendly and easy-to-understand approaches have been identified to explain complex principles in the most understandable way. Most of these writers have also embraced media by making their works easily available through their websites and also in downloadable formats.

Today, Ecology Textbooks come in two categories. There are those that aim at introducing and preparing the learner for future studies. In this list, How To Do Ecology, Primate Behavioral Ecology, 4th Edition, and Ecology 1st Edition fall in this category. These textbooks are simple to understand and use a lot of visuals for clarity. The other group of books is meant for students who aim at having a deeper understanding of this diverse subject.

10. How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook, 2nd Edition

  • By: Richard Karban

This book by Richard Karban, Mikaela Huntzinger, and Ian S. Pearse isn’t by any means the most reviewed so far. However, the title itself says it all. This is what we would refer to as the first step in a flight of staircases. Its main intention is to introduce the fresh learners into the world of ecology. These 3 champs have left no stone unturned in bringing this subject to life. They are staunch believers of science as a social endeavor. Consequently, they aim at equipping the beginners with all the strategies required to relate with other people. How to Do Ecology also offers valuable tips on how to organize and conduct ecological researches.


  • It prepares the learner in a friendly approach
  • It uses simple and easily understandable grammar
  • The book is short; it won’t add much weight to your other books


  • No complain has been posted so far

9. DK Eyewitness Books: Ecology Hardcover – September 5, 2005

  • By: Brian Lane

This Ecology Textbook by Brian Lane and Steve Pollock has been used for over 12 years now. It demonstrates its informative nature right from the front cover. Its main agenda is to offer an in-depth knowledge about the diversity of animals and plants and their interrelationships in the environment they are found in. In addition, the authors have also gone some miles ahead to offer the reader with a wealth of information on Electronics and the modern world. Here, they explain the evolution of machines from long before electricity to the modern world.


  • It includes high-quality colored portraits of scientists and their contributions to science
  • Its ideas are presented in an organized and understandable manner
  • Its striking visuals is encouraging and attractive to all learners


  • Some readers feel that the book isn’t big enough

8. Marine Ecology: Processes, Systems, and Impacts 2nd Edition

  • By: Michel J. Kaiser

Marine Biology is one of the most exciting branches of Ecology. However, it could also be challenging if you lack a solid and reliable introduction and guidance. If you aim at intensifying your knowledge in this field, Marine Ecology is here for you. This book is an interesting introduction and overview of marine life. It’s a valuable publication of 5 authors including Michael J. Kaiser, who works with Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences, Martin J. Attrill, Department of Science, University of Plymouth, and David K.A Barnes who works with the British Antarctic Survey. This book is available for rent, and you can also buy it new or used. Notably, if you rent, you’ll benefit from free shipping back after expiry.


  • It’s written in an understandable style
  • It goes against the traditions and approaches the subject in a modern view
  • It’s content-rich


  • It lacks proper organization
  • It has numerous typing errors

7. Primate Behavioral Ecology 4th Edition

  • By: Karen B. Strier

This is an excellent textbook for students in their first class of Biology. It’s a great interesting book that has more emphasis on primates, their behavior, anatomy, and their relationship to each other and other animals.

The author, Karen B. Strier has done an intensive research in the primates’ world. Just like one of the reviewers says, you’ll find it hard to attend your next Primatology Class without this textbook. In addition, its vigorous illustration and excellent organization will send you looking for other related books. Notably, Karen puts her content in a comprehensible manner, so you won’t be yawning across the texts.


  • It’s easily understandable and interesting
  • The book isn’t huge
  • It’s not biased


  • It’s pricey. However, you can rent or go for a used one at a cheaper price.

6. Freshwater Ecology, 2nd Edition

  • By: Walter K. Dodds

This book has been written from a student’s perspective. As such, it has been reviewed by other ecological students before publication to see that it bridges the gaps left by other textbooks. It serves as an easy way of understanding other books which may be overly confusing. Even better, Walter K. Dodds, the author, ends each topic with some easy-to-grab points. In addition, the learner benefits from refreshing questions at the end of each topic.


  • It sheds light on difficult areas
  • It offers practical questions


  • The book is poorly bound

5. Ecology: The Economy of Nature Seventh Edition

  • By: Robert Ricklefs

The clear and excellently-structured ecology book called “The Economy of Nature” incorporates a real-world approach to the study of nature. Its technical yet straightforward content representation makes it easy for those who are contemplating or already in ecological research to have a better understanding of their subjects. Right from the cover page and throughout the textbook, Rick and Robert use full-color photographs which make it more of having a guided walk in nature.


  • It’s full of helpful graphs and images
  • It’s content-rich for a general ecology class


  • It’s pricier though worth every buck

4. Ecology 1st Edition

  • By: Michael L. Cain

This 1st Edition textbook by Michael Cain, William Bowman, and Sally Hacker aims at preparing learners for further ecological studies. Coming from authors with over 10 years of experience in this field, this book expresses ideas in the simplest manner possible. Putting it in Sharon P. Lawler’s words, Ecology 1st Edition outlays its content in a clear, beautifully-illustrated, and engaging manner.


  • It uses an engaging style through fascinating stories and pictures
  • It’s easy to understand


  • Only used books are available

3. Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance, 6th Edition

  • By: Charles J. Krebs

Charles J. Krebs has an entirely different approach to uncovering what would have been a difficult subject to the students. The book views ecology as problems that can only be understood through empirical evidence. He uses short and interesting chapters to keep you glued from one chapter to the other.


  • It uses concise paragraphs
  • It uses real-life situations


  • Some readers find it confusing

2. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, 2nd Edition Paperback

  • By: Ken Wilber

From the author of the best-selling, “No Boundary,” comes our second best book in this list. Ken Wilber has in most instances been referred to as the smartest philosopher of our time. What astonishes many is his ability to capture even those with the minutest interest in reading to stick with him from the word go. You’ll find this book extremely interesting even outside a classroom setup. Ken tries to elaborate in detail the evolutionary stages of living things in a logically-unfolding style.


  • It’s detailed
  • The author is humorous and academically accurate


  • Some feel that he is wordy and repeats himself

1. Ecology, 3rd Edition

  • By: Michael L. Cain

From the authors of our 4th best Ecology book in this list comes our leading contender. This is an updated edition that remains a must-have tool for those having their first classes in ecology class. Here, the authors have incorporated numerous graphs, charts, exercises, and topic-after-topic questions in a bid to offer a comprehensive overview of Ecology. Several users say that they have developed an interest in what seemed to be a difficult task after reading this book.


  • It’s full of exercise and review questions
  • It’s an easy read


  • It’s pricier

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