Book ID: 98677
Darwin and the evolution of flowers. Papers of a discussion meeting issue. 2010. (Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences, Vol.365, no.1539). illus. 198 p. 4to. Paper bd.
Darwin's wide-ranging interests in plants sprang from many sources, but they were also motivated by an appreciation of plants as experimental organisms that could be used to explore and test his ideas about evolution. Darwin focused especially on understanding the evolution of flowers, and the results of his work, published in three major books, established the foundation for our modern understanding of the evolution of plant reproductive biology. This issue examines Darwin's contributions in light of current knowledge, and also presents those new and emerging avenues of evolutionary research that continue to flourish with the incorporation of new approaches and new ideas. The sixteen papers of the issue reflects renewed interest in the theoretical aspects of pollination biology, and also the impact of modern phylogenetics, which is illuminating the diversification of flowers andflowering plants with a level of precision and specificity that Darwin could never have imagined. Coupled with improved insights from the fossil record and advances in understanding the genetic control of floral development, research on the evolution of flowers is now entering new era. The tools and approaches currently available offer new possibilities to understand how the vast diversity of floral form has been generated over time, in different phylogenetic backgrounds, by modifications of fundamentally similar developmental processes, all under the influence of the pervasive, but often subtle, evolutionary pressures that Darwin was the first to recognize.