1st Edition

Carrion Ecology, Evolution, and Their Applications

    608 Pages 32 Color & 200 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    608 Pages 103 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Shortlisted for the 2018 TWS Wildlife Publication Awards in the edited book category


    Decomposition and recycling of vertebrate remains have been understudied, hampered largely due to these processes being aesthetically challenging (e.g., smell and sight). Technological innovations have provided the means to explore new and historically understood natural systems to give us a plethora of new information. Carrion Ecology, Evolution, and Their Applications covers a broad spectrum of topics including the molecular mechanistic foundations that provide the basis for intra- and interspecific interactions related to population biology, community ecology, and how this manifests into habitat- and ecosystem-level importance. The book connects the science of carrion decomposition from genes to ecosystems in multidisciplinary synthesis of the science.

    This book brings together a team of global experts involved with measuring and understanding the process and effects of carrion ecology in nature, with special application in such applied fields as forensic entomology, habitat management, animal production (e.g., livestock and aquaculture), and human and environmental health. It fills a large literature gap in ecology, providing a synthesis and future directions important for studies of carrion decomposition that improve the general understanding of decomposition in ecosystems. The book fuses multiple disciplines into a single message explaining the importance of vertebrate carrion ecology in nature.

    Illustrates Carrion Decomposition in a 16-Page Color Insert with 40 Photos

    The authors illustrate how the study of carrion transcends the globe and expands systems of inquiry, broadening awareness of this important ecosystem process. Whether you are a student, academic, or professional, you will find this book insightful for the fields of molecular ecology, microbiology, entomology, forensics, population biology, community and ecosystem ecology, and human and environmental health.

    Introduction to Carrion, Ecology, Evolution, and Their Applications

    Eric Benbow, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, and Aaron M. Tarone
    Processes and Mechanisms of Death and Decomposition of Vertebrate Carrion
    Shari L. Forbes and David O. Carter
    Microbial Interactions During Carrion Decomposition
    Tawni L. Crippen, M. Eric Benbow, and Jennifer L. Pechal
    Arthropod Communities in Terrestrial Environments
    Richard W. Merritt and Grant D. De Jong
    Carrion Effects on Belowground Communities and Consequences for Soil Proceßes
    Michael S. Strickland and Kyle Wickings
    Ecological Role of Vertebrate Scavengers
    James C. Beasley, Zach H. Olson, and Travis L. DeVault
    Design and Analysis of Field Studies in Carrion Ecology
    Kenneth G. Schoenly, J.-P. Michaud, and GaÉtan Moreau


    Community and Landscape Ecology of Carrion
    Eric Benbow, Jennifer L. Pechal, Rachel M. Mohr
    Chemical Ecology of Vertebrate Carrion
    Jonathan A. Cammack, Meaghan L. Pimsler, Tawni L. Crippen, and Jeffery K. Tomberlin
    Vertebrate Carrion as a Model for Conducting Behavior Research
    Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Michelle R. Sanford, Meaghan L. Pimsler, and
    Sherah L. VanLaerhoven
    Modeling Species Interactions within Carrion Food Webs
    Sherah L. VanLaerhoven
    Aquatic Vertebrate Carrion Decomposition
    John R. Wallace
    The Role of Carrion in Ecosystems
    Philip S. Barton

    Ecological Genetics

    Aaron M. Tarone
    Quantitative Genetics of Life-History Traits in Coprophagous and
    Necrophagous Insects
    Wolf Blanckenhorn
    Carrion and Dung Mimicry in Plants
    Andreas Jürgens and Adam Shuttleworth
    Population Genetics and Molecular Evolution of Carrion-Associated Arthropods
    Christine J. Picard, Jonathan J. Parrott, and John W. Whale
    Microbial Genetics and Systematics
    Michael S. Allen and Michael G. LaMontagne
    Microbiome Studies of Carrion Decomposition
    Jeßica L. Metcalf, David O. Carter, and Rob Knight
    Interkingdom Ecological Interactions of Carrion Decomposition
    Heather R. Jordan, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Thomas K. Wood, and M. Eric Benbow
    Ecology of African Carrion
    Sarah C. Jones, Eli D. Strauß, and Kay E. Holekamp

    Carrion Communities as Indicators in Fisheries, Wildlife Management, and Conservation
    .D. Hocking and S.M. O’Regan
    Composting as a Method for Carrion Disposal in Livestock Production
    Shanwei Xu, Tim Reuter, Kim Stanford, Francis J. Larney, and Tim A. McAllister
    Human Decomposition and Forensics
    Gail S. Anderson
    Frontiers in Carrion Ecology and Evolution
    Eric Benbow, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, and Aaron M. Tarone


    Dr. M. Eric Benbow is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Entomology and Osteopathic Medical Specialties at Michigan State University. The research in his lab focuses on microbial-invertebrate community interactions in aquatic ecosystems, disease systems and carrion ecology and evolution. All of these research foci use basic science to inform applications in areas such as human health, natural resources management and forensics. Dr. Benbow has authored or co-authored a collection of over 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and proceedings, many of which relate to carrion decomposition ecology. He has served on a National Research Council committee related to aquatic ecology, and is regularly invited as a speaker at international and national academic meetings related to aquatic, disease and decomposition ecology. Dr. Benbow has led workshops at the international level discussing experimental design, statistical analyses and the importance of novel basic ecological concepts in advancing the field of carrion ecology and applications in forensics. Dr. Benbow was part of the inaugural executive committee for the North American Forensic Entomology Association (NAFEA) where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the annual NAFEA Newsletter and NAFEA Webmaster (www.nafea.net) for eight years. He was the president of NAFEA from 2012-2013 and has served as an expert witness and worked on several cases that involved insects as evidence during investigations or water resource litigation. He continues a recognized research program in microbe-insect interactions that supports undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Dr. Benbow continues to mentor and co-mentor students and postdoctoral associates through research and teaching. He sees the future of ecology and evolution to fundamentally be in the hands of students and early scientists worldwide.

    Dr. Jeffery K. Tomberlin is an associate professor and c