'Species' are central to understanding the origin and dynamics of biological diversity; explaining why lineages split into multiple distinct species is one of the main goals of evolutionary biology. However the existence of species is often taken for granted, and precisely what is meant by species and whether they really exist as a pattern of nature has rarely been modelled or critically tested. This novel book presents a synthetic overview of the evolutionary biology of species, describing what species are, how they form, the consequences of species boundaries and diversity for evolution, and patterns of species accumulation over time. The central thesis is that species represent more than just a unit of taxonomy; they are a model of how diversity is structured as well as how groups of related organisms evolve. The author adopts an intentionally broad approach, stepping back from the details to consider what species constitute, both theoretically and empirically, and how we detect them, drawing on a wealth of examples from microbes to multicellular organisms.
2: What are species?
3: The evidence for species - phenotypic and genetic clustering
4: Why are there species? - arenas of recombination and selection
5: What causes speciation?
6: Species and speciation without sex
7: Species boundaries and contemporary evolution
8: Species interactions and contemporary evolution
9: Predicting evolution in diverse communities
10: How does species richness accumulate over time?
Tim Barraclough was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and was educated at Bradford Grammar School, and the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. His DPhil research used large-scale phylogenetic data to look for correlates of diversification in birds and flowering plants. Moving to Imperial College London's Silwood Park campus in 1996, he worked first on the molecular systematics of tiger beetles, before establishing his own group with a Royal Society University Research Fellowship followed by a Lectureship in 2003. He has worked on a wide range of different animals, fungi, plants and bacteria and used a range of different methods ranging from theory and computation, through field work and systematics, to studying evolution 'live' in the laboratory. In 2012, he was awarded the Bicentenary Medal of the Linnean Society for a scientist under the age of 40.