Jerry A. Coyne, University of Chicago and H. Allen Orr, University of Rochester
Jerry A. Coyne, University of Chicago and H. Allen Orr, University of Rochester


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Over the last two decades, the study of speciation has expanded from a modest backwater of evolutionary biology into a large and vigorous discipline. Thus, the literature on speciation, as well as the number of researchers and students working in this area, has grown explosively. Despite these developments, there has been no book-length treatment of speciation in many years. As a result, both the seasoned scholar and the newcomer to...

Over the last two decades, the study of speciation has expanded from a modest backwater of evolutionary biology into a large and vigorous discipline. Thus, the literature on speciation, as well as the number of researchers and students working in this area, has grown explosively. Despite these developments, there has been no book-length treatment of speciation in many years. As a result, both the seasoned scholar and the newcomer to evolutionary biology had no ready guide to the recent literature on speciation—a body of work that is enormous, scattered, and increasingly technical. Although several excellent symposium volumes have recently appeared, these collections do not provide a unified, critical, and up-to-date overview of the field. Speciation is designed to fill this gap.

Aimed at professional biologists, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates, Speciation covers both plants and animals (the first book on this subject to do so), and deals with all relevant areas of research, including biogeography, field work, systematics, theory, and genetic and molecular studies. It gives special emphasis to topics that are either controversial or the subject of active research, including sympatric speciation, reinforcement, the role of hybridization in speciation, the search for genes causing reproductive isolation, and mounting evidence for the role of natural and sexual selection in the origin of species. The authors do not hesitate to take stands on these and other controversial issues. This critical and scholarly book will be invaluable to researchers in evolutionary biology and is also ideal for a graduate-level course on speciation.

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The authors have collaborated since 1989, coauthoring a number of research and review papers on speciation.

Jerry A. Coyne is Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. (Biology) at Harvard University, followed by an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Genetics at the University of California, Davis. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses spanning a wide range of topics, including evolutionary biology, speciation, genetic analysis, social issues and scientific knowledge, and scientific speaking and writing. Dr. Coyne was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1989. He has served as Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution (1996) and as Associate Editor of Evolution (1985-1988; 1994-2000) and The American Naturalist (1990-1993). His work is widely published, not only in scientific journals, but in such mainstream venues as The New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and The New Republic. His research interests include population and evolutionary genetics, speciation, ecological and quantitative genetics, chromosome evolution, and sperm competition.

H. Allen Orr is Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester, where he has taught courses in evolution, quantitative and population genetics, evolutionary genetics, and speciation. He completed his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and undertook postdoctoral study at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Orr was awarded both the Young Investigator Prize (American Society of Naturalists, 1992) and the Dobzhansky Prize (Society for the Study of Evolution, 1993). Other honors include the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (1995-2000) and a Guggenheim fellowship (2000-2001). Dr. Orr has served on the editorial boards of Evolution (1998-2000) and Genetical Research (1996-present), authored or coauthored numerous articles in scientific journals, and been a frequent contributor of book reviews and critical essays to such publications as The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Boston Review. His research interests include population genetics, the genetics of speciation in Drosophila, and the genetics of adaptation.

“Coyne & Orr have done the field a great favour by synthesising so much research so comprehensively. I think the book will serve its purpose of teaching upcoming (and existing) generations of evolutionary biologists of what we do and do not know about speciation. It will literally be the point of reference for the next ten years.”
—Menno Schilthuizen, BioEssays

“[Coyne and Orr’s] thorough and thoughtful review of speciation ranges over the entire field and examines it dispassionately. Theirs is a remarkable work of synthesis, and it belongs on every biologist’s bookshelf. … On the whole, this book is a wonderful resource and a fine example of what happens when clever scientists take a clear and unbiased look at the evidence. It will, I predict, join the pantheon of really important books about evolution.”
—Christopher Wills, Journal of Heredity

“ … I highly recommend this deeply insightful book. The field of speciation research was in need of a sagacious update, and this benchmark work will provide a solid foundation for further scientific inquiry into what has been one of evolution’s most engaging and enduring mysteries.”
—John C. Avise, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

“Coyne and Orr’s Speciation has been eagerly awaited… . If its messages are heeded, it will bring much-needed order and rigor to the current burst of activity… . Systematic and incisive analysis is what makes the book so powerful… . Coyne and Orr have done the field a great service by providing such a clear analysis of the status quo. Hopefully, a wide audience will read the book, apply similarly rigorous arguments and direct their research efforts more profitably as a result.”
—Roger K. Butlin, Evolution

“Regardless of your favorite species concept, the consistency with which Coyne and Orr apply their views and the clarity of presentation make Speciation an essential resource for anyone interested in or working on topics related to speciation, from genetic incompatibilities to species interactions to biogeography.”
—Matthew L. Forister and John K. McKay, Ecology

“Identifying and understanding the processes that lead to the origin of species is one of the fundamental problems of evolution. Solving it requires not only field studies, comparative analyses and lab work, but also a scholarly knowledge of previous work. Speciation, a joyous duet by two of the field’s leading soloists, Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr, should help… . Performing this demanding duet in masterful harmony, Coyne and Orr present an authoritative treatise on one of the most long-running debates in evolutionary biology. Speciation is an impressively up-to-date and enlightening synthesis—and an entertaining read. It deserves to join Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and Mayr’s Systematics and the Origin of Species on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in evolution.”
—Axel Meyer, Nature

“Overall, this book provides an outstanding and much needed review of the whole field, written in a clear and critical style.”
—Nick Barton, Current Biology

“The book is a rich and thorough review, critique, and synthesis of recent literature that is sure to become a classic read for anyone interested in speciation.”
—Benjamin K. Blackman and Loren H. Rieseberg, Science

“Coyne and Orr have both written elsewhere for the general reader, but Speciation is not a work of popular science. It belongs to another, increasingly rare and in a way more valuable, category of books. It lies somewhere between a student text and a research monograph. Its main influence will be among biologists who are starting research on speciation, or who want a summary of an inaccessible body of research.”
—Mark Ridley, The Times Literary Supplement

Speciation … is an impressive achievement of great depth and broad scope. It will be required reading for those studying species and species formation… . the book is novel in the depth of its scholarship, the exceptionally thorough treatment of central questions and the superb use of published literature.”
—David P. Wake, American Scientist

“The authors are evenhanded, opinionated without being dismissive of viable alternatives, and thoughtful in their evaluation of the nearly 1,600 scientific articles and books that form the modern view of the speciation process. This is an authoritative, thorough review of what is known and not known about the process of speciation. Darwin would be proud.”
—G. C. Stevens, Choice

“This is an important book, perhaps the most important work on the subject of speciation in decades… . This book deserves to be read by evolutionary biologists, ecologists, and natural historians alike. The text is eminently readable, and the authors move seamlessly between molecular and classical genetics, mathematical theory, ecology, and comparative biology to review ideas both old and new… . Above all, it is the authors’ remarkable gift for synthesis that makes the book so valuable. With its publication, Coyne and Orr have laid the foundation for a 21st-century research program on the biology of speciation.”
—Daniel L. Rabosky, The Auk

“The strengths of Speciation are not only Coyne and Orr’s comprehensive, scholarly coverage of an exceedingly broad subject, but also, and especially, their rigorous, incisive analysis, coupled with strongly stated conclusions and suggestions for how to resolve controversies.”
—Douglas J. Futuyma, PLoS Biology

“In the circus of speciation literature, the three toughest acts to follow are Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), Ernst Mayr’s Animal Species and Evolution (1963), and Verne Grant’s Plant Speciation (1971). It is remarkable that the late 20th Century explosion of research in evolutionary biology has, until now, occurred without inspiring a new book on the origin of species. Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr take center ring with Speciation, and give a performance that will earn their book a place on your shelf alongside the classic tomes of their predecessors.”
—Toby Bradshaw, Integrative and Comparative Biology

“The recent work on speciation has utilized theory, ecology, genetics, molecular biology, and comparative studies, and these broad approaches have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the process of speciation. Speciation is the first book that summarizes and synthesizes this recent work from different fields while maintaining a keen historical perspective on the major questions about the origin of species. … Speciation is incredibly well organized and clear … A major strength of the book is that Coyne and Orr draw attention to unanswered questions to stimulate future research. This is an excellent resource that a new graduate student or postdoc entering the field can use to see where there are opportunities for novel research and creative approaches. … the depth and breadth ensure that it will still be useful for a seasoned evolutionary biologist working in the field. I am sure I will continue to pull it off my shelf on a regular basis.”
—Catherine L. Peichel, Developmental Cell