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The study of patterns and processes of evolution on islands has played an important role in the development of an understanding of how and why evolution occurs. Small, discrete pieces of the environment, frequently isolated from the continental processes of gene flow, often inhabited by unique species, and displaying remarkable rapidity of diversifying evolution, it is easy to see why islands have been referred to as `natural experiments.' This book surveys our current knowledge and understanding of island evolution in several chapters written by experts on various aspects of microevolution, speciation, and adaptive radiation.
1. Patterns on islands and microevolution; 2. The reproductive biology and genetics of island plants; 3. Evolution of small mammals; 4. The maintenance of genetic polymorphism in small island populations: large mammals in the Hebrides; 5. Molecular and morphological evolution within small islands; 6. Speciation; 7. Natural selection and random genetic drift as causes of evolution on islands; 8. Island hopping in Drosophila: genetic patterns and speciation mechanisms; 9. Speciation and hybridization of birds on islands; 10. Ecological speciation in postglacial fishes; 11. How 'molecular leakage' can mislead us about island speciation; 12. Radiations, communities and biogeography; 13. Ecological and evolutionary determinants of the species-area relation in Caribbean anoline lizards; 14. Lake level fluctuations and speciation in rock dwelling cichlid fish in Lake Tanganyika, East Africa; 15. Islands in Amazonia; 16. Biotic drift or the shifting balance - did forest islands drive the diversity of warningly coloured butterflies?; 17. Adaptive plant evolution on islands : classical patterns, molecular data, new insights; 18. Epilogue and questions