These are my top 5 academic evolutionary biology and developmental biology books for 2015. Please keep in mind that this my list and is highly-influenced by my own research biases. Personal reviews available on request!
See the rest of this year’s book recommendations here!
This book outlines a unified theory of embryonic development, assuming morphogenesis to be a multi-level process including self-organizing steps while also obeying general laws. It is shown how molecular mechanisms generate mechanical forces, which in the long run lead to morphological changes.
This book is divided in two parts, the first of which shows how, beyond paleontology and systematics, macroevolutionary theories apply key insights from ecology and biogeography, developmental biology, biophysics, molecular phylogenetics and even the sociocultural sciences to explain evolution in deep time. In the second part, the phenomenon of macroevolution is examined with the help of real life-history case studies on the evolution of eukaryotic sex, the formation of anatomical form and body-plans, extinction and speciation events of marine invertebrates, hominin evolution and species conservation ethics.
The revolution in molecular technologies has created a revolution in our perception of the living world. It is life, but not as we knew it. The science studying this new world, uncovering the relationships between genes, developing organisms, and their environments, is called ecological developmental biology. This book presents the data for ecological developmental biology, integrating it into new accounts of medicine, evolution, and embryology. The new evolutionary science created by this approach to nature is called ecological evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo). The book documents the evidence for a new, extended, evolutionary synthesis, a synthesis that: confounds the creationist belief that evolution can’t be described above the species-level; integrates aging and Western diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, and obesity into an evolutionary context; and sees interspecies interactions both within the organism and between organisms as being critical for evolution, development, and fitness.
The book integrates our understanding of the factors and processes underlying the evolution of multicellularity by providing several complementary perspectives (both theoretical and experimental) and using examples from various lineages in which multicellularity evolved. Recent years marked an increased interest in understanding how and why these transitions occurred, and data from various fields are providing new insights into the forces driving the several independent transitions to multicellular life as well as into the genetic and molecular basis for the evolution of this phenotype. The ultimate goal of this book is to facilitate the identification of general and unifying principles and mechanisms.
The development of molecular tools has dramatically increased our knowledge of parasite diversity and the vectors that transmit them. From viruses and protists to arthropods and helminths, each branch of the Tree of Life offers an insight into significant, yet cryptic, biodiversity. Alongside this, the studies of host-parasite interactions and parasitism have influenced many scientific disciplines, such as biogeography and evolutionary ecology, by using comparative methods based on phylogenetic information to unravel shared evolutionary histories. Parasite Diversity and Diversification brings together two active fields of research, phylogenetics and evolutionary ecology, to reveal and explain the patterns of parasite diversity and the diversification of their hosts. This book will encourage students and researchers in the fields of ecology and evolution of parasitism, as well as animal and human health, to integrate phylogenetics into the investigation of parasitism in evolutionary ecology, health ecology, medicine and conservation.