The first volume to address the study of evolutionary transitions in plants, Major Evolutionary Transitions in Flowering Plant Reproduction brings together compelling work from the three areas of significant innovation in plant biology: evolution and adaptation in flowers and pollination, mating patterns and gender strategies, and asexual reproduction and polyploidy. Spencer C. H. Barrett assembles here a distinguished group of authors who address evolutionary transitions using comparative and phylogenetic approaches, the tools of genomics, population genetics, and theoretical modeling, and through studies in development and field experiments in ecology. With special focus on evolutionary transitions and shifts in reproductive characters—key elements of biological diversification and research in evolutionary biology—Major Evolutionary Transitions in Flowering Plant Reproduction is the most up-to-date treatment of a fast-moving area of evolutionary biology and ecology.
All living things on earth—from individual species to entire ecosystems—have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives.
Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution—the history of organisms—is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats.
The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.
On the Origin of Phyla
James W. Valentine University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress QH367.5.V26 2004 | Dewey Decimal 591.38
Owing its inspiration and title to On the Origin of Species, James W. Valentine's ambitious book synthesizes and applies the vast treasury of theory and research collected in the century and a half since Darwin's time. By investigating the origins of life's diversity, Valentine unlocks the mystery of the origin of phyla.
One of the twentieth century's most distinguished paleobiologists, Valentine here integrates data from molecular genetics, evolutionary developmental biology, embryology, comparative morphology, and paleontology into an analysis of interest to scholars from any of these fields. He begins by examining the sorts of evidence that can be gleaned from fossils, molecules, and morphology, then reviews and compares the basic morphology and development of animal phyla, emphasizing the important design elements found in the bodyplans of both living and extinct phyla. Finally, Valentine undertakes the monumental task of developing models to explain the origin and early diversification of animal phyla, as well as their later evolutionary patterns.
Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla will take its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, affecting the work of paleontologists, morphologists, and developmental, molecular, and evolutionary biologists for decades to come.
"A magisterial compendium . . . . Valentine offers a judicious evaluation of an astonishing array of evidence."—Richard Fortey, New Scientist
"Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla has already taken its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, affecting the work of paleontologists, morphologists, and developmental, molecular, and evolutionary biologists for decades to come."—Ethology, Ecology & Evolution
"Valentine is one of the Renaissance minds of our time. . . . Darwin wisely called his best-known work On the Origin of the Species; the origin of the phyla is an even stickier problem, and Valentine deserves credit for tackling it at such breadth . . . . A magnificient book."—Stefan Bengtson, Nature
Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Stephen Jay Gould Harvard University Press, 1985 Library of Congress QH371.G68 | Dewey Decimal 575.01
“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” was Haeckel’s answer—the wrong one—to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Jay Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitulation from its first appearance among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century.
Mr. Gould explores recapitulation as an idea that intrigued politicians and theologians as well as scientists. He shows that Haeckel’s hypothesis—that human fetuses with gill slits are, literally, tiny fish, exact replicas of their water-breathing ancestors—had an influence that extended beyond biology into education, criminology, psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung were devout recapitulationists), and racism. The theory of recapitulation, Gould argues, finally collapsed not from the weight of contrary data, but because the rise of Mendelian genetics rendered it untenable.
Turning to modern concepts, Gould demonstrates that, even though the whole subject of parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny fell into disrepute, it is still one of the great themes of evolutionary biology. Heterochrony—changes in developmental timing, producing parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny—is shown to be crucial to an understanding of gene regulation, the key to any rapprochement between molecular and evolutionary biology. Gould argues that the primary evolutionary value of heterochrony may lie in immediate ecological advantages for slow or rapid maturation, rather than in long-term changes of form, as all previous theories proclaimed.
Neoteny—the opposite of recapitulation—is shown to be the most important determinant of human evolution. We have evolved by retaining the juvenile characters of our ancestors and have achieved both behavioral flexibility and our characteristic morphology thereby (large brains by prolonged retention of rapid fetal growth rates, for example).
Gould concludes that “there may be nothing new under the sun, but permutation of the old within complex systems can do wonders. As biologists, we deal directly with the kind of material complexity that confers an unbounded potential upon simple, continuous changes in underlying processes. This is the chief joy of our science.”
Over the past decade, ecologists have increasingly embraced phylogenetics, the study of evolutionary relationships among species. As a result, they have come to discover the field’s power to illuminate present ecological patterns and processes. Ecologists are now investigating whether phylogenetic diversity is a better measure of ecosystem health than more traditional metrics like species diversity, whether it can predict the future structure and function of communities and ecosystems, and whether conservationists might prioritize it when formulating conservation plans.
In Phylogenetic Ecology, Nathan G. Swenson synthesizes this nascent field’s major conceptual, methodological, and empirical developments to provide students and practicing ecologists with a foundational overview. Along the way, he highlights those realms of phylogenetic ecology that will likely increase in relevance—such as the burgeoning subfield of phylogenomics—and shows how ecologists might lean on these new perspectives to inform their research programs.
Willi Hennig University of Illinois Press, 1966 Library of Congress QL351.H413 1979 | Dewey Decimal 591.012
Phylogenetic Systematics, first published in 1966, marks a turning point in the history of systematic biology. Willi Hennig's influential synthetic work, arguing for the primacy of the phylogenetic system as the general reference system in biology, generated significant controversy and opened possibilities for evolutionary biology that are still being explored.
Although they are relative latecomers on the evolutionary scene, having emerged only 135‒170 million years ago, angiosperms—or flowering plants—are the most diverse and species-rich group of seed-producing land plants, comprising more than 15,000 genera and over 350,000 species. Not only are they a model group for studying the patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification, they also play major roles in our economy, diet, and courtship rituals, producing our fruits, legumes, and grains, not to mention the flowers in our Valentine’s bouquets. They are also crucial ecologically, dominating most terrestrial and some aquatic landscapes.
This fully revised edition of Phylogeny and Evolution of the Angiosperms provides an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of the evolution of and relationships among these vital plants. Incorporating molecular phylogenetics with morphological, chemical, developmental, and paleobotanical data, as well as presenting a more detailed account of early angiosperm fossils and important fossil information for each evolutionary branch of the angiosperms, the new edition integrates fossil evidence into a robust phylogenetic framework. Featuring a wealth of new color images, this highly synthetic work further reevaluates long-held evolutionary hypotheses related to flowering plants and will be an essential reference for botanists, plant systematists, and evolutionary biologists alike.
"The merits of this work are many. A rigorous integration of phylogenetic hypotheses into studies of adaptation, adaptive radiation, and coevolution is absolutely necessary and can change dramatically our collective 'gestalt' about much in evolutionary biology. The authors advance and illustrate this thesis beautifully. The writing is often lucid, the examples are plentiful and diverse, and the juxtaposition of examples from different biological systems argues forcefully for the validity of the thesis. Many new insights are offered here, and the work is usually accessible to both the practiced phylogeneticist and the naive ecologist."—Joseph Travis, Florida State University
"[Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior] presents its arguments forcefully and cogently, with ample . . .support. Brooks and McLennan conclude as they began, with the comment that evolution is a result, not a process, and that it is the result of an interaction of a variety of processes, environmental and historical. Evolutionary explanations must consider all these components, else they are incomplete. As Darwin's explanations of descent with modification integrated genealogical and ecological information, so must workers now incorporate historical and nonhistorical, and biological and nonbiological, processes in their evolutionary perspective."—Marvalee H. Wake, Bioscience
"This book is well-written and thought-provoking, and should be read by those of us who do not routinely turn to phylogenetic analysis when investigating adaptation, evolutionary ecology and co-evolution."—Mark R. MacNair, Journal of Natural History
In recent years, the use of molecular data to build phylogenetic trees and sophisticated computer-aided techniques to analyze them have led to a revolution in the study of cospeciation. Tangled Trees provides an up-to-date review and synthesis of current knowledge about phylogeny, cospeciation, and coevolution. The opening chapters present various methodological and theoretical approaches, ranging from the well-known parsimony approach to "jungles" and Bayesian statistical models. Then a series of empirical chapters discusses detailed studies of cospeciation involving vertebrate hosts and their parasites, including nematodes, viruses, and lice. Tangled Trees will be welcomed by researchers in a wide variety of fields, from parasitology and ecology to systematics and evolutionary biology.
Sarah Al-Tamimi, Michael A. Charleston, Dale H. Clayton, James W. Demastes, Russell D. Gray, Mark S. Hafner, John P. Huelsenbeck, J.-P. Hugot, Kevin P. Johnson, Peter Kabat, Bret Larget, Joanne Martin, Yannis Michalakis, Roderic D. M. Page, Ricardo L. Palma, Adrian M. Paterson, Susan L. Perkins, Andy Purvis, Bruce Rannala, David L. Reed, Fredrik Ronquist, Theresa A. Spradling, Jason Taylor, Michael Tristem