713 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables
The past two decades have seen revolutionary progress in our ability to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and classify living things, thanks to improved methods of inference and a wealth of DNA sequencing research. The Tree of Life condenses this knowledge into 44 chapters of the ultimate phylogenetic tree, providing for the first time a comprehensive overview of evolutionary relationships for the main groups of living organisms. Each chapter is authored by experts, and appropriate chapters feature these elements:
- Chapter-opening evolutionary tree for each group of organisms
- Genome characteristics
- Phylogenetic results contrasted with previous classifications
- Evolution of characters
- Evolutionary tendencies
- Biogeography and biodiversity
- Differentiation and speciation
- Open questions
- Basic bibliography
- Basic terms
In addition, 11 more chapters on evolution-influencing factors (e.g., symbiosis, biogeography), systematics, and phylogenetic techniques are included. This indispensable book will serve college and graduate students, university teachers, life science researchers, and other professionals who require classification in an evolutionary framework through which their own comparative biological data can be interpreted.
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Pablo Vargas is Senior Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Botany at the Complutense University (Madrid). He also earned his Ph.D. at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid and completed a four-year postdoctoral period in California (UC Berkeley), England (University of Reading), and Germany (University of Mainz). The postdoctoral period and current researcher position allowed specialization in plant phylogenetics. As a result, he has published over 200 scientific papers, including tree reconstructions of more than 20 angiosperm families in the last 15 years. In addition, four more books on public dissemination of plant sciences were also published in this period. Currently, he is involved with three main projects that address hypotheses on systematics of Mediterranean angiosperm families, phylogenomics of the olive tree and relatives, and ecological processes in plants and animals of the Galápagos Islands.
Rafael Zardoya is Research Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Biotechnology from the University Autónoma of Madrid. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University Complutense of Madrid and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His current research interests include: the study of higher phylogenetic relationships of several metazoan phyla, with particular emphasis on mollusks and vertebrates; the genetic basis of speciation in marine snails and their phylogeography; the molecular evolution of complete animal mitochondrial genomes and nuclear gene families; and the performance and limitations of phylogenetic methods in a genomic context.