To spotlight the widespread importance of evolution, a group of renowned international scientists have launched a scientific journal devoted to using evolutionary biology to tackle the world's major biological crises. The new journal, titled Evolutionary Applications publishes articles that use evolution to address pressing issues such as climate change, endangered species, food safety, infectious diseases, and invasive species.
The first issue, freely available via Journal’s website (www.evolutionaryapplications.org), drives home that fact that evolution is not just for monkeys. Articles discuss topics ranging from how organisms may respond to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, to why evolutionary biology should be added to medical school curricula.
“Evolution is not just about understanding where humans came from,” says Evolutionary Applications Editor-in-Chief Louis Bernatchez. “As one example, Professor Graham Bell from McGill University in Montreal and Dr. Sinéad Collins from University of Edinburgh, co-authored the journal’s inaugural article “Adaptation, extinction and global change”, in which they used evolutionary biology to predict that certain populations will go extinct in response to increased pollution and acidification because organisms cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to these human-mediated stresses. The first issue also features other articles that use evolutionary tools to address HIV transmission, to assess population boundaries of threatened species such as spotted owl, and to predict how Atlantic cod will evolve in response to increased fishing intensity. The second issue will entirely focus on highlighting the usefulness and benefits of an evolutionary perspective for conservation and management of salmon. Evolution really is everywhere and this journal showcases its multiple uses.” The second issue, a Special Issue entitled “Evolutionary perspectives on salmonid conservation and management”, has just been published online.
The journal editorial board is certainly a star-studded cast. When asked why he thought the launch of this journal was particularly significant, journal editor Loren Rieseberg, who is also a MacArthur Fellow and University of British Columbia Canada Research Chair, replied that “evolutionary biology is the glue that holds the life sciences together, and evolutionary principles are key to understanding and solving many of society’s most serious problems. There’s a huge growth of studies using evolution to solve real-world problems. What we really needed was a place to publish all of these important papers”.
Articles in Evolutionary Applications show the practical uses of evolution, and how evolutionary biology is absolutely necessary to understanding the biological world.
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