General Evolution

Am I a Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution

by Francisco J. Ayala
Baltimore (MD): The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 104 pages.

Ayala is eminently qualified to write such a book, reviewer Joel W. Martin observes, especially because of his irenic attitude toward faith. The book is “well-written, accurate, and concise, and it covers the main points of biological evolution likely to be questioned by non-specialists,” although two of the questions Ayala addresses (What is DNA? and How Did Life Begin?) strike Martin as somewhat out of place. The final chapter (Can One Believe in Evolution and God?) is Ayala’s “most important contribution ... and it will be well received by persons of faith” but also draw flak from those “opposed to any such reconciliation.”

An Introduction to the Invertebrates, second edition

by Janet Moore
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 340 pages.

A short but thorough guide to the invertebrate phyla, Moore's textbook emphasizes evolution throughout, with introductory chapters on "The process of evolution: Natural selection" and "The pattern of evolution: Molecular evidence" as well as a final chapter on "Invertebrate evolutionary history". The reviewer for the Quarterly Review of Biology commented, "Survival is a mark of success, as every biologist knows. The fact that this 'little book' has a second edition indicates that it has found a welcome place as an introductory guide to the invertebrates." Janet Moore is former Director of Studies in Biological Sciences at New Hall, Cambridge.

At Home in the Universe

by Stuart A Kauffman
New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 336 pages.

"The emerging sciences of complexity begin to suggest," Kauffman writes, "that the order [of the biological world] is not at all accidental, that vast veins of spontaneous order lie at hand. Laws of complexity spontaneously generate much of the order of the natural world. ... Such veins of spontaneous order have not been entirely unknown, yet they are just beginning to emerge as powerful new clues to the origins and evolution of life." Stephen Jay Gould wrote, "Kauffman has done more than anyone else to supply the key missing piece of the propensity for self-organization that can join the random and the deterministic forces of evolution into a satisfactory theory of life's order."

Biogeography, fourth edition

by Mark V Lomolino, Brett R Riddle, Robert J Whittaker, and James H Brown
Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates, 2010. 560 pages.

The latest and thoroughly updated edition of a classic textbook, which Edward J Miller describes as “an instructor–scientist’s dream: attractive, interesting, and questioning; full and broad; with superb graphics; and ranging from pre-historical to historical to today — including nowadays environmental issues. No other biogeography book/text comes close to this one for university teaching.” The major sections of the book are devoted to introducing the discipline of biogeography, the geographic and ecological foundations of biogeography, fundamental biogeographic processes and earth history, evolutionary history of lineages and biotas, ecological biogeography, and conservation and the frontiers of biogeography.

Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach, eighth edition

by C Barry Cox and Peter D Moore
New York: John Wiley, 2010. 506 pages.

From the publisher: “This new edition incorporates the exciting changes of the recent years, and presents a thoughtful exploration of the research and controversies that have transformed our understanding of the biogeography of the world. It also clearly identifies the three quite different arenas of biogeographical research: continental biogeography, island biogeography and marine biogeography. ... It reveals how the patterns of life that we see today have been created by the two great Engines of the Planet — the Geological Engine, plate tectonics, which alters the conditions of life on the planet, and the Biological Engine, evolution, which responds to these changes by creating new forms and patterns of life.”

Darwin's Dreampond: Drama on Lake Victoria

by Tijs Goldschmidt
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. 280 pages.

Like the finches of the Galápagos, the cichlids of Lake Victoria have descended from a recent common ancestor, and radiated, spectacularly, across the range of available ecological niches. In Darwin's Dreampond, Tijs Goldschmidt not only explains the evolution and the ecology of the Lake Victoria cichlids, but also engagingly relates his adventures and misadventures as a researcher in the field. Mark Ridley comments, "The biological story itself is fascinating, and Mr Goldschmidt tells it well. But the genius of his book lies in the way he has combined the science with travel writing. He interleaves the two in a highly readable way, so that his Tanzanian experiences lighten the science."

Developmental Plasticity and Evolution

by Mary Jane West-Eberhard
New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 816 pages.

A major contribution to a synthesis of development and evolution, Developmental Plasticity and Evolution, in the words of the reviewer for Evolution & Development, "comprehensively explores the mechanisms and implications of developmental plasticity to numerous aspects of both micro- and macroevolution ... West-Eberhard seamlessly shifts between a broad mastery of the classical literature and up-to-date modern science. ... Every reader will find their own ideas altered and expanded by at least some of the examples and arguments representing the lifetime gestalt of this exemplary scientist." Mary Jane West-Eberhard is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Encyclopedia of Evolution

by Stanley A Rice
New York: Checkmark Books, 2007. 468 pages.

Reviewing Encyclopedia of Evolution for RNCSE, Tim M Berra wrote, "It is not often that one reads an encyclopedia from cover to cover, but this task was more enjoyable than onerous. ... Rice's coverage is broad, interesting, relevant, and informative. If you want examples of Convergent Evolution or a primer on Cladistics, Coevolution, or Creationism, this is a good place to begin. Reading this book would be excellent preparation for graduate school general exams. It can serve as a ready reference for science journalists, teachers, school board members, and the intelligent layperson." The author, a member of NCSE, teaches at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Endless Forms: Species and Speciation

edited by Daniel J. Howard and Stewart H. Berlocher
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 484 pages.

The publisher writes, "This volume presents the newest research findings on speciation bringing readers up to date on species concepts, modes of speciation, and the nature of reproductive barriers. It also discusses the forces that drive divergence of populations, the genetic control of reproductive isolation, and the role played by hybrid zones and hybridization in speciation." After a historical introduction, there are essays on five themes: species concepts; geography, ecology, and population structure; reproductive barriers; hybrid zones and speciation; and "perspectives" — including a personal memoir by Guy Bush, a champion of sympatric speciation, to whom the book is dedicated.

Evolution 101

by Randy Moore and Janice Moore
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006. 240 pages.

Randy Moore and Janice Moore's Evolution 101 aims, in the words of its publisher, to provide "readers — whether students new to the field or just interested members of the lay public — with the essential ideas of evolution using a minimum of jargon and mathematics." It succeeds marvelously. The reviewer for NSTA Recommends writes, "Seldom is a book so well written and so well researched that it ought to be required reading for every thinking person," adding, "Not only should every high school, community, and university library have a copy of Evolution 101 but every science teacher in the country should as well."

Evolution Box Set on DVD

A PBS documentary
WGBH Boston, 2001. 480 minutes.

A wonderful documentary, beautifully rendered on DVD, highlighting many key areas of evolution, including its history, modern theory, and its implications. Evolution also features many NCSE supporters and staff members. A must for individuals, students, teachers and professors alike!

Evolution Box Set on VHS

A PBS documentary
WGBH Boston, 2001. 420 minutes.

A wonderful documentary highlighting many key areas of evolution, including its history, modern theory, and its implications. Evolution also features many NCSE supporters and staff members. A must for individuals, students, teachers and professors alike!

Evolution in Hawaii

by Steve Olson
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004. 56 pages.

Intended as a supplement to Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, Evolution in Hawaii focuses on the Hawaiian islands as laboratories of evolution in the wild. Included is a speciation exercise in which, as the preface describes it, "Using real genetic data from 18 species of Drosophila flies in Hawaii, students draw evolutionary trees depicting the relationships of the species and investigate the link between speciation and the ages of the Hawaiian islands. By letting students explore the mechanisms involved in the origin of species, the teaching exercise demonstrates how descent from a common ancestor can produce organisms with widely varying characteristics."

Evolution, 3rd Ed.

by Monroe Strickberger
Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett, 2005. 672 pages.

This lavishly illustrated college-level textbook is excellent especially for teachers, or anyone who wants an understandable introduction to the wide variety of topics that make up evolution, from biochemical genetics to ecology.

Evolution, second edition

by Douglas J. Futuyma
Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates, 2009. 545 pages.

Now in its second edition, Evolution is described by its publisher as "a comprehensive treatment of contemporary evolutionary biology that is directed toward an undergraduate audience. It addresses major themes — including the history of evolution, evolutionary processes, adaptation, and evolution as an explanatory framework — at levels of biological organization ranging from genomes to ecological communities. Throughout, the text emphasizes the interplay between theory and empirical tests of hypotheses, thus acquainting students with the process of science. Teachers and students will find the list of important concepts and terms in each chapter a helpful guide, and will appreciate the dynamic figures and lively photographs."

Evolution: The Extended Synthesis

by Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller
Cambridge [MA]: MIT Press, 2010. 504 pages.

According to reviewer Anya Plutynski, “This engaging volume surveys novel empirical and theoretical advances in biology since the Modern Synthesis, some of which add to, and some challenge, its central tenets.” The project is to extend the synthesis to include patterns and processes often considered to be at the margins of the theory, such as epigenetic inheritance, niche inheritance, facilitated variations, plasticity, and evolvability; the review focuses on the last two of these. Plutynski concludes, “Anyone interested in becoming aware of both what we know now and what theoretical advances may come from this new data for evolutionary theory should take a look through Pigliucci and Müller’s superb collection.”

Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Papers with Commentaries

edited by Mark V Lomolino, Dov F Sax, and James H Brown
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. 1328 pages.

A massive anthology of the essential works in biogeography, from Linnaeus and Buffon through Darwin and Wallace to Mayr and MacArthur and Wilson, together with commentary from leading contemporary biogeographers. The reviewer for Plant Systematics and Evolution comments, “It is not possible to do justice here to the dozens and dozens of great studies reprinted in this book — after all, virtually every paper is considered a classic in its own rignt — but perhaps it suffices to say that it should not come as any surprise when Foundations of Biogeography itself becomes a major milestone in modern biogeography.”

From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design

by Sean B. Carroll, Jennifer K. Grenier, and Scott D. Weatherbee
Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2001. 192 pages.

"Animals diverge from common ancestry through changes in their DNA, but what are the genes that control morphology?" That is the question that From DNA to Diversity seeks to investigate by synthesizing evolutionary biology with genetics and embryology. "With almost poetic ease, the authors tell a highly complex story without distorting its scientific substance. The story lines starts from the large scale features of the history of life, goes through the levels of biological hierarchy all the way to the details of gene regulation and emerges with a deeper understanding of biological diversity," writes Günther Wagner: "In Sean Carroll developmental evolution has found its Darwin."

From So Simple a Beginning

by Philip Whitfield
New York: Macmillan, 1993. 220 pages.

With more than 400 stunning illustrations including color photographs and diagrams that genuinely clarify the text, this book tells the story of life and lucidly explains evolutionary principles — no misconceptions allowed. Fascinating insets illustrate concepts like mutation and adaptation with phenomena ranging from the sickle-cell gene to the rattlesnake's heat sensors. Foreword by Roger Lewin. Ages 12–grandparent.

Here Be Dragons

by Dennis McCarthy
New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 256 pages.

A spirited and readable survey of the history of biogeography, Here Be Dragons teems in accounts of unusual animals and exotic locales. The publisher writes, “The story of how animals and plants came to be found where they are — the story of biogeography — brings together two great theories of life and Earth: evolution and plate tectonics. In this wonderfully rich telling, that takes in pygmy mammoths and orca whales, Dennis McCarthy traces the powerful forces that have altered the surface of the planet and shaped the pattern of life on Earth.” The author is a scientific researcher with the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Icons of Evolution: An Encyclopedia of People, Evidence, and Controversies

edited by Brian Regal
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. 720 pages.

From the publisher: "Students and the general public are frequently confronted with contradictory and confusing claims about the people, ideas, and artifacts that were essential in the development of the science of evolution. Where can they find accurate and understandable information on these important concepts? Icons of Evolution comprises twenty-four in-depth essays on the most famous ideas, artifacts, people and places of evolutionary biology. Dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Charles Darwin, peppered moths, carbon dating, the fossil record, and more, are explained by some of the most respected scientists, historians, and philosophers of evolution in the world."

In the Light of Evolution: Essays from the Laboratory and Field

edited by Jonathan Losos
Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts and Company, 2011. 330 pages.

Reviewer Marvalee H. Wake describes In the Light of Evolution as “a wonderfully rich and diverse collection of essays that illustrate the way evolutionary biologists think and work—how they develop questions and hypotheses about evolution and how it occurs, how they test their hypotheses, why both lab and field work are important to resolution of many questions, and why the answers usually open new questions—and why that is useful for the progress of science. The authors of the essays present a wide range of exploration of several major areas of evolutionary biology, and of research on a great diversity of organisms.”

Journey to the Ants

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998. 304 pages.

If the 750+ pages of The Ants are too daunting, there’s always Journey to the Ants, which provides a briefer treatment for a lay reader. Chapters include The Dominance of Ants, For the Love of Ants, The Life and Death of the Colony, How Ants Communicate, War and Foreign Policy, The Ur-Ants, Conflict and Dominance, The Origin of Cooperation, The Superorganism, Social Parasites: Breaking the Code, The Trophobionts, Army Ants, The Strangest Ants, and How Ants Control Their Environment. “[A] bustling but well-organized ant heap, full of wonders natural and intellectual,” wrote the reviewer for Scientific American.

Keywords in Evolutionary Biology

edited by Evelyn Fox Keller and Elisabeth A Lloyd
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. 432 pages.

The editors of Keywords in Evolutionary Biology commissioned leading biologists, historians of biology, and philosophers of science to explain in detail a host of concepts central to evolutionary biology, from adaptation to unit of selection. The book includes essays by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel J Kevles, Motoo Kimura, Philip Kitcher, Michael Ruse, Elliott Sober, Mary Jane West-Eberhard, and David Sloan Wilson. Ernst Mayr exclaimed, "What a splendid idea to have a critical discussion by established experts of the key words used in recent controversies in evolutionary biology. This helps the understanding of these controversies enormously."

Life from an RNA World: The Ancestor Within

by Michael Yarus
Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2010. 208 pages.

“Yarus takes on an ambitious task,” reviewer Arthur G. Hunt explains, “to summarize the excitement and curiosity of RNA research for a broad audience that includes the informed lay public as well as life scientists. On top of this, he is faced with the unenviable but inescapable task of explaining some of the fastest-moving and -changing areas in science. But Yarus succeeds in explaining the remarkable nature of RNA, and how this singular molecule ties together the present and the very distant past.” A chapter addressing creationist objections to the RNA world and evolution in general is interesting but not as informative as treatments elsewhere.

Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006

by E. O. Wilson
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 719 pages.

A wide-ranging collection of Wilson’s writing throughout his career, Nature Revealed contains sixty-one articles on ants and sociobiology, biodiversity studies (systematics and biogeography), and conservation and the human condition, plus a bibliography of his published work. “The papers collected here,” Wilson explains in his preface, “are those subjects to which ants and my boyhood passions led me. Together they reflect, I hope faithfully, some of the broader events that have occurred in the disciplines they represent and the times in which they were written.” Steven Pinker describes it as “[a] fascinating collection from one of the most influential thinkers of our time.”

On the Origin of Species

by Charles Darwin
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964. 540 pages.

This facsimile of the first edition of Darwin's epochal work is supplemented with a useful introduction by the great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr. "When we go back to the Origin, we want the version that stirred up the Western world", Mayr explains. "The first edition represents Darwin in his most revolutionary spirit and this is the edition that stands as so great a monument in man's intellectual history." The publisher, Harvard University Press, proudly — and correctly — says, "For modern reading and for reference, it is the standard edition of Darwin's greatest work."

Phylogeography

by John C. Avise
Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2000. 464 pages.

Phylogeography is the discipline that traces the evolutionary history of genotypes through space. “John Avise is the acknowledged founder of the field that he has named ‘phylogeography,’” Svante Pääbo writes. “This book presents the intellectual underpinning of this novel focus of research. It is eminently accessible to students and researchers who approach this problem from a practical angle and are not well-versed in the quite complex mathematics that underline many of these approaches. It is certainly a book I will recommend to my graduate students and will use in my teaching.”

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, twenty-fifth anniversary edition

by E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. 720 pages.

When it was first published in 1975, Sociobiology both offered a new biological synthesis, aimed at explaining social behaviors such as altruism, aggression, and nurturance in their evolutionary context, and provoked a fierce controversy, largely on account of its final chapter addressing the subject of human behavior. The publisher writes, “For its still fresh and beautifully illustrated descriptions of animal societies, and its importance as a crucial step forward in the understanding of human beings, this anniversary edition of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis will be welcomed by a new generation of students and scholars in all branches of learning.”

Speciation

by Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen Orr
Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2004. 545 pages.

Speciation is again at the forefront of evolutionary research, and Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen Orr's Speciation is a unified, critical, and up-to-date account of the scientific research relevant to the origin of species. Reviewing the book in RNCSE (2005 May-Aug; 25 [3-4]: 40-41), Norman A Johnson wrote, "Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr, who have alone and together made several seminal discoveries in speciation, have written a magisterial, comprehensive volume ... Had Coyne and Orr just published their annotated bibliography, that would be a great service for professional evolutionary biologists and their students. But they do so much more!"

Symbiotic Planet

by Lynn Margulis
New York: Basic Books, 2000. 176 pages.

In Symbiotic Planet, a book in the Science Masters series of popularizations, Lynn Margulis argues that symbiosis is crucial to the emergence of evolutionary novelty, from the eukaryotic cell to, controversially, the planet itself. ("Gaia is just symbiosis as seen from space," as one of her students offered.) Kirkus Reviews writes, "This is vintage Margulis — personal, autobiographical, passionate, argumentative, at times over the top, but full of ideas — at least some of which, in the past, have proved to be right." A Supporter of NCSE, Margulis is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The Ants

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
Cambridge (MA): Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1990. 752 pages.

The bible of myrmecology, The Ants is not only a definitive guide to its subject but also a beautifully written study, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1991. According to the reviewer for Nature, “The Ants is a stunningly attractive volume that belongs as much on the coffee table as it does on the lab bench. ... The 20 chapters are organized thematically, and they are written in a clear, accessible and engaging style ... Only Hölldobler and Wilson could have written such a comprehensive and integrated treatment of ant biology. It represents a herculean labour of love, and it sets a new standard for synthetic works on major taxa.”

The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth, second edition

edited by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. 256 pages.

The Book of Life, now in its second edition, provides nothing less than it promises in its title: a detailed account of the history of life on earth over the last four billion years. J John Seposki Jr, Michael Benton, Christine Janis, Christopher Stringer, and Peter Andrews, under the general editorship of NCSE Supporter Stephen Jay Gould, are responsible for the thoroughly understandable text; the vivid and compelling illustrations are the work of John Barber, Marianne Collins, Ely Kish, Akio Marishima, and Jean-Paul Tibbles. Palaeontologia Electronica's reviewer wrote, "There is much of interest here for the professional, and a wealth to be discovered for the interested general reader."

The Flight of the Dodo

by David Quammen
New York: Scribner, 1996. 704 pages.

Combining history, science, and travelogue, The Song of the Dodo is at once a beautifully written introduction to the topic of island biogeography and a passionate appeal to save the world’s biodiversity in the face of massive habitat destruction. Quammen is the author also of The Flight of the Iguana and The Reluctant Mr Darwin; Bill McKibben describes The Song of the Dodo as “compulsively readable — a masterpiece, maybe the masterpiece of science journalism,” and the reviewer for Publishers Weekly writes, “That a book on so technical a subject could be so enlightening, humorous and engaging is an extraordinary achievement.”

The Greatest Show on Earth

by Richard Dawkins
New York: Free Press, 2009. 480 pages.

Reviewing The Greatest Show on Earth for RNCSE, Douglas Theobald wrote, "Dawkins outlines the goal for his latest tome in the introduction: 'Evolution is a fact, and this book will demonstrate it. No reputable scientist disputes it, and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.' That ostentatious declaration sets the bar high, but by the final flowery chapter, after over 400 pages of dramatic evidence, it is apparent that the author has successfully cleared the hurdle." Dawkins's books also include The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker.

The Making of the Fittest

by Sean B. Carroll
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006. 301 pages.

In the preface to The Making of the Fittest, Sean B. Carroll writes, "With DNA science penetrating so many facets of everyday life, it is again time for a new departure and to seek facts of a new kind. My goal in this book is to present a body of new facts about evolution gathered from DNA evidence. ... The body of new evidence I will describe in this book clinches the case for biological evolution as the basis for life's diversity, beyond any reasonable doubt." "With fervor and clarity, Carroll amasses a glut of facts to refute the twisted logic of the anti-Darwinist camp," applauded the reviewer for Discover.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Evolution

edited by Mark D Pagel
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 1205 pages.

A monumental reference work, with over 1300 pages in two volumes, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Evolution presents the essentials of evolutionary biology in 370 original articles written by leading experts, accompanied with hundreds of tables, charts, graphs, maps, and other illustrations, as well as bibliographies, cross-references, and an index. The reviewer for Trends in Ecology & Evolution concluded, "Throughout the diverse contributions, a strong case could be made that the authors are among the best that could have been chosen to describe their respective fields. ... In short, this will be an excellent reference work for those in any field of evolution."

The Story of Life

by Richard Southwood
New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 272 pages.

The Story of Life, based on the eminent zoologist Richard Southwood's lectures to first-year students at Oxford University, manages to review the history of life, from its earliest beginnings to the present day — and it even offers a glimpse into the future. It is generously illustrated with line drawings and maps, too! "This remarkable book succeeds, within less than 300 pages, in summarizing everything essential about all living creatures for more than three billion years. If you are looking for one convenient, reliable, highly readable reference to replace your whole library, this is it," writes Jared Diamond.

The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies

by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson
New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 544 pages.

From the publisher: “The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of The Ants render the extraordinary lives of the social insects in this visually spectacular volume. The Superorganism promises to be one of the most important scientific works published in this decade. Coming eighteen years after the publication of The Ants, this new volume expands our knowledge of the social insects (among them, ants, bees, wasps, and termites) and is based on remarkable research conducted mostly within the last two decades. These superorganisms ... represent one of the basic stages of biological organization, midway between the organism and the entire species.”

The Theory of Island Biogeography

by Robert H MacArthur and Edward O Wilson
Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press, 2001. 224 pages.

From the jacket copy of the 2001 edition, with a new preface by Wilson: “In this book, the authors developed a general theory to explain the facts of island biogeography. The theory builds on the first principles of population ecology and genetics to explain how distance and area combine to regulate the balance between immigration and extinction in island populations. The authors then test the theory against data. ... The Theory of Island Biogeography remains at the center of discussions about the geographic distribution of species.” Ted Case describes it as “arguably the most influential book in biogeography in the last hundred years.”

The Theory of Island Biogeography Revisited

edited by Jonathan B Losos and Robert E Ricklefs
Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press, 2009. 494 pages.

Almost half a century after the publication of The Theory of Island Biogeography, the contributors to Losos and Ricklefs’s collection — including Wilson himself, with his retrospective essay “Island biogeography in the 1960s” — take a look back at MacArthur and Wilson’s seminal work and a look forward at new directions and dimensions for the field. The reviewer for Ecology writes, “For anyone who needs to catch up on where island biogeography has been and is now, and for any graduate students interested in the topic, this book provides a great review and many pointers for the way forward.”

The Top 10 Myths About Evolution

by Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan
Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2006. 200 pages.

From the publisher: "In this concise, accessible, 'myth-buster's handbook,' educators Cameron M Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is 'just a theory,' that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees, and six other popular but erroneous notions. Smith and Sullivan's reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution."

The Tree of Life: A Phylogenetic Classification

by Guillaume Lecointre and Hervé Le Guyader
Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2006. 560 pages.

Reviewing The Tree of Life for RNCSE, Kevin Padian wrote, "The Tree of Life is a terrific compendium of the conclusions of thirty years of research and standardization by thousands of scientists around the globe. It is clearly written, logically organized, and beautifully illustrated. In short, it is one-stop shopping for anyone with questions about where a given group of organisms fits on the tree of life, what characteristics put it there, and how we know all this. ... This book deserves wide distribution and use in libraries and classrooms, as well as among professionals and students of biology."