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The Tree of Life

Pablo Vargas and Rafael Zardoya

Publication Date - July 2014

ISBN: 9781605352299

713 pages
9 x 11 inches

In Stock

Provides the first comprehensive overview of evolutionary relationships for the main groups of living organisms


The past two decades have seen revolutionary progress in our ability to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and classify living things, thanks to improved methods of inference and a wealth of DNA sequencing research. The Tree of Life condenses this knowledge into 44 chapters of the ultimate phylogenetic tree, providing for the first time a comprehensive overview of evolutionary relationships for the main groups of living organisms. Each chapter is authored by experts, and appropriate chapters feature these elements:

*Chapter-opening evolutionary tree for each group of organisms

*Genome characteristics

*Phylogenetic results contrasted with previous classifications

*Evolution of characters

*Evolutionary tendencies

*Biogeography and biodiversity

*Differentiation and speciation

*Open questions

*Basic bibliography

*Basic terms

In addition, 11 more chapters on evolution-influencing factors (e.g., symbiosis, biogeography), systematics, and phylogenetic techniques are included. This indispensable book will serve college and graduate students, university teachers, life science researchers, and other professionals who require classification in an evolutionary framework through which their own comparative biological data can be interpreted.

About the Author(s)

Pablo Vargas is Senior Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Botany at the Complutense University (Madrid). He also earned his Ph.D. at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid and completed a four-year postdoctoral period in California (UC Berkeley), England (University of Reading), and Germany (University of Mainz). The postdoctoral period and current researcher position allowed specialization in plant phylogenetics. As a result, he has published over 200 scientific papers, including tree reconstructions of more than 20 angiosperm families in the last 15 years. In addition, four more books on public dissemination of plant sciences were also published in this period. Currently, he is involved with three main projects that address hypotheses on systematics of Mediterranean angiosperm families, phylogenomics of the olive tree and relatives, and ecological processes in plants and animals of the Galápagos and Canary Islands.

Rafael Zardoya is Research Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Biotechnology from the University Autónoma of Madrid. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University Complutense of Madrid and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His current research interests include: the study of higher phylogenetic relationships of several metazoan phyla, with particular emphasis on molluscs and vertebrates; the genetic basis of speciation in marine snails and their phylogeography; the molecular evolution of complete animal mitochondrial genomes and nuclear gene families; and the performance and limitations of phylogenetic methods in a genomic context.


"I was impressed by this book when I first saw the edition in Spanish soon after publication in 2012. The English edition is not just a translation, however, but revised and extended to include the most recent results and information on some 'hyperdiverse' groups not included in the original Spanish edition. This is, as far as I am aware, the most comprehensive account of the diversity of life on Earth (viruses excluded) as we know it in a single volume. This book could almost be looked on as a 'coffee-table' work on the diversity of life, but it is actually something that should not only be a reference work on the shelves of biodiversity, conservation, and molecular scientists, molecular biologists, but a basic reference text for all students in the non-medical biological sciences. The modest price for such a substantial full-colour work should help this title get the wide circulation it merits."--David L. Hawksworth, Biodiversity and Conservation

"One could scarcely wish for a more authoritative brief guide to the Earth's biota." --Kevin Padian, Reports of the National Center for Science Education

"The book emphatically holds its own against the strong competition, and it thus belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who pretends to an interest in the phylogenetic view of biodiversity." --David A. Morrison, Systematic Biology

"The Tree of Life is a wonderful achievement. It is authoritative, and for this we are grateful to the authors. But it is also didactic and elegantly produced, and for this we thank the editors and the publishers." --Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

"This exquisite summary of the phylogeny of major groups of life provides one of the most comprehensive and useful overviews of biodiversity available. Each chapter is written by a leading expert in the respective taxonomic group. This will be an important reference for anyone interested in life's diversity and evolutionary relationships." --David M. Hillis, University of Texas at Austin

Table of Contents

    Michael J. Donoghue



    Francisco J. Ayala

    1. Systematics: Charting the Tree of Life
    Fredrik Ronquist

    2. Great Domains: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya
    David Moreira

    3. Archaea and Bacteria: The Prokaryotic Cell Organization
    Ramón Rosselló-Móra and Josefa Antón

    4. The Domain Eucarya: The Rise of Organisms with Nucleated Cells
    Guifré Torruella, David Moreira, and Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo

    5. The Former "Protists": Amoebozoa, Rhizaria, Excavata, Haptophyta, Cryptophyta, Heterokonta, and Alveolata
    Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, David Moreira, and Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo

    6. Plants: Origin of Glaucophytes and Rhodophytes before Land Plant Diversification
    Adrian Reyes-Prieto

    7. Chlorobionts: The Origin and Diversification of Green Plants
    Francisco F. Pedroche

    8. Embryophytes: Early Land Plants
    Josep A. Rosselló

    9. Tracheophytes: Land Conquest by Vascular Plants
    Virginia Valcárcel and Pablo Vargas

    10. Ferns: Vascular Plants That Reproduce by Spores
    Santiago Pajarón and Emilia Pangua

    11. Conifers: The Most Diverse Group of Naked Seed Plants
    David S. Gernandt and Alejandra Vázquez Lobo

    12. Angiosperms: Plants with Flowers That Produce Fruits
    Pablo Vargas

    13. Monocotelydons: Great Diversity of an Ancient Angiosperm Lineage
    Santiago Martín-Bravo and Modesto Luceño

    14. Eudicotyledons: The Greatest Flower Diversity in Angiosperms
    Susana Magallón and Pablo Vargas

    15. Fungi: Hyperdiversity Closer to Animals Than to Plants
    Ana Crespo, Pradeep K. Divakar, and H. Thorsten Lumbsch

    16. Metazoans: The Rise of Early Animals
    Manuel Maldonado

    17. Eumetazoans: The Emergence of Tissue and Guts
    André C. Morandini, Mónica Medina, and Allen G. Collins

    18. Bilaterians: The Evolutionary Advantage of Being Two-Sided
    Marta Riutort, Jordi Paps, and Iñaki Rúiz-Trillo

    19. Protostomes: The Greatest Animal Diversity
    Gonzalo Giribet

    20. Spiralians: Animals with Spiral Cleavage and Their Relatives
    Gonzalo Giribet

    21. Molluscs: Diversity of Shells and Soft Bodies
    Cristina Grande and Rafael Zardoya

    22. Annelids: Segmented Worms
    M. Teresa Aguado, María Capa, Alejandro Oceguera-Figueroa, and Greg W. Rouse

    23. Platyhelminthes: Are Flatworms Simple or Simply Simplified?
    Marta Riutort

    24. Ecdysozoans: The Molting Animals
    Noemí Guil and Gonzalo Giribet

    25. Nematodes: The Ubiquitous Roundworms
    Alfonso Navas

    26. Panarthropods: Arthropods and Their Closest Relatives
    Gustavo Hormiga and Jesús Ballesteros Chávez

    27. Chelicerates: The Eight-Legged Colonization of Land
    Miquel Arnedo and Carles Ribera

    28. Mandibulates: Arthropods with Mandibles
    Marcos Pérez-Losada

    29. Hexapods: Insects and Their Closely Related Groups
    Ignacio Ribera and Rolf G. Beutel

    30. Odonates: Dragonflies and Damselflies
    M. Olalla Lorenzo-Carballa and Adolfo Cordero-Rivera

    31. Orthopterans: Grasshoppers and Katydids, the First Singers on Earth
    Mario García-París

    32. Hemipterans: The Largest Hemimetabolous Insect Order
    Dora Aguin Pombo and Thierry Bourgoin

    33. Hymenopterans: Ants, Bees, Wasps, and the Majority of Insect Parasitoids
    Jose L. Nieves Aldrey and Michael Sharkey

    34. Coleopterans: Beetles
    Ignacio Ribera and Rolf G. Beutel

    35. Dipterans: Two-Winged Flies
    David Yeates and Dalton de Souza Amorim

    36. Lepidopterans: Butterflies and Moths
    Roger Vila

    37. Deuterostomes: The Ancestry of Vertebrates
    José Castresana

    38. Echinoderms: Reinventing Radial Symmetry
    Samuel Zamora and Pablo Vargas

    39. Chordates: The Acquisition of an Axial Backbone
    Stéphanie Bertrand and Héctor Escrivá

    40. Actinopterygians: The Extraordinary Diversity of Ray-Finned Fishes
    Ignacio Doadrio and Omar Domínguez-Domínguez

    41. Sarcopterygians: The Rise of Land Vertebrates
    Rafael Zardoya

    42. Amphibians: Land Conquest by Vertebrates
    Diego San Mauro

    43. Mammals: Proliferation of Species after Dinosaurs' Demise
    Pablo Vargas

    44. Sauropsids: Reptilian Relationships, including Aves
    Salvador Carranza

    45. Aves: Birds, the Living Descendants of Flying Dinosaurs
    Per G. P. Ericson

    46. Speciation
    Antonio Fontdevila

    47. Biogeography
    Isabel Sanmartín

    48. Evolution on Islands
    Pablo Vargas

    49. Evolutionary Ecology
    Patrick S. Fitze

    50. Evolution of Behavior
    Patrick S. Fitze

    51. Phylogenies and the Evolution of Development
    Ehab Abouheif

    52. Symbiosis
    Andrés Moya, Amparo Latorre, and Vicente Pérez-Brocal

    53. Phylogenetic Techniques and Markers
    Pilar Catalán and Fernando González-Candelas

    54. Reconstruction of Phylogenetic Trees
    David Posada

    55. Analysis of Genetic Variation and Intraspecific Phylogenies
    Julio Rozas and Alejandro Sánchez-Gracia

    Illustration Credits


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