Evolution is the fundamental underpinning to all of biology, and both recent and deep-time changes characterize all natural ecosystems. We are pleased to highlight in this issue ongoing researchers in Integrative Biology who are studying a diversity of evolutionary processes, from the fossil record of plants in an ancient New Mexico forest (graduate student Dori Contreras) to dietary shifts in early mammals (postdoctoral fellow Christopher Emerling) and molecular features of the aging process among diverse vertebrates (new assistant professor Peter Sudmant). Much of this work requires regular access to numerous plant and animal specimens (and their DNA), and in this regard we are blessed at Berkeley to have four internationally prominent museums of natural history. In aggregate, these museums annually support about one thousand research projects conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and faculty. In recent times our department has also evolved, emerging from a primordial assemblage of different academic units some 30 years ago to become the top-ranked department in the country in organismal biology. Such sustained excellence benefits both students and researchers alike, and moving forward we are pleased, with both institutional and donor support, to build on pre-existing strengths as well as to pursue new research domains and frontiers of biological enquiry.
Professor and Chair