Since its foundation in 1987, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology has become an active scientific community, with the latest congress in Barcelona attracting more than 850 scientists from all over the world. Evolutionary biology is indeed a lively and exciting field today. In part this is stimulated by advances in molecular and developmental biology. Molecular marker techniques are becoming more powerful, less time consuming and cheaper, facilitating detailed research on selection, mating and population structure, gene flow and bio-geography. Sequence data is being used for phylogenetic reconstruction of the origins of species and gene families, and studies of the mechanisms behind evolving phenotypic reactions. The increase in computing power allows us to analyse more complex patterns and model more complex processes.
Evolutionary biology is still about natural and sexual selection, about speciation, about mutation and drift. Its laws are not necessarily deducible from molecular biology. Nevertheless, new developments may certainly allow us to say more about when certain characteristics have evolved, how many times, in what way the mechanisms differ, and why something evolved in some groups but not in others. Evolutionary biology is expected to become stronger in its historical and mechanistic content, and more detailed in its description and analysis of the ongoing processes.
Therefore, the Journal of Evolutionary Biology specifically welcomes contributions that connect knowledge on developmental mechanisms and the historical, phylogenetic context to pertinent evolutionary issues. The journal will also publish more (mini-)reviews, on topics in which remarkable new insights are gained (integrative studies, co-evolution, experimental evolution, molecular and chemical evolution). However, the journal's prime focus is understanding the evolutionary process by whatever method appropriate, hi- or low-tech. Counting offspring can not easily be automated, and seems rather central to many evolutionary problems.
We look forward to receiving manuscripts on your latest research on actual evolutionary topics. Our mutual goal is to make the results known to the world as best as possible. Publication time is now around six months, thanks to the reviewing by a dedicated editorial board and efficient editorial and printing procedures. The appealing layout of the journal, a new promotion campaign targeted specifically at colleagues working the same field, and a better accessibility of the Journal (e.g., through Blackwell's on-line Synergy program) are the main keys to achieve this.
Peter van Tienderen,