The use of DNA and other biological macromolecules has revolutionized systematic studies of evolutionary history. Methods that use sequences of nucleotides and amino acids are now routinely used as data for addressing evolutionary questions that, although not new questions, have defied description and analysis. The world-renowned contributors use these new methods to unravel particular aspects of the evolutionary history of birds. Avian Molecular Evolution and Systematics presents an overview of the theory and application of molecular systematics, focusing on the phylogeny and evolutionary biology of birds. New, developing areas in the phylogeny of birds at multiple taxonomic areas are covered, as well as methods of analysis for molecular data, evolutionary genetics within and between bird populations, and the application of molecular-based phylogenies to broader questions of evolution.
* Contains authoritative contributions from leading researchers
* Discusses the utility of different molecular markers for questions of avian evolution, involving populations and higher-level taxa
* Applies molecular-based phylogenies of birds and molecular population genetics data to broad questions of organismal and molecular evolution.
* Compares and contrasts molecular and morphological data sets
"Provides insight into general mechanisms of evolutionary change across all taxonomic levels." --CHOICE "This edited volume contains enough to keep ornithologists up far into the night, up-to-date, informative and often provocative ideas about molecular bird phylogenetics. David Mindell has done an admirable job of gathering together those, old and you, who have something interesting to say about avian molecular evolution and systematics. This volume signals a new, more collaborative approach to the subject." --1998 RECENT ORNITHOLOGICAL PUBLICATIONS "This new book on avian molecular systematics represents a cross section of topics, although it focuses on mitochondrial DNA sequences. It is not a textbook, but a collection of 13 papers that touch on many of the methodological issues of interest to molecular systematists. ...a well-edited volume that will be of interest to many ornithologists and molecular systematists." --AMERICAN ZOOLOGIST "...the timing was right for a volume giving an overview of avian molecular systematics. Mindell has brought together authors working on taxa, concepts, and methods who represent a cross section of the field. The chapters are well written, address important issues, and provide an interesting set of case studies on avian phylogeny. Mindell's volume will provide a good benchmark for assessing future progress in the field. The overview of the field provided by Avian Molecular Evolution and Systematics makes it useful both for graduate students looking for an introduction to the discipline, and for established avain systematists wanting a broad review or a single reference source. It would make a good choice for a graduate reading course, especially for programs with a strong bird orientation. The book also serves as a summary of bird molecular phylogeny for systematists working on other taxa, or for other ornithologists. Mindell's volume should help provide a strong footing for the next decade of avian molecular systematists." --SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY