Island biology: looking towards the future
Complete registryShow full item record
Oceanic islands are renowned for the profound scientific insights that their fascinating biotas have provided to biologists during the past two centuries. Research presented at Island Biology 2014—an international conference, held in Honolulu, Hawaii (7–11 July 2014), which attracted 253 presenters and 430 participants from at least 35 countries1—demonstrated that islands are reclaiming a leading role in ecology and evolution, especially for synthetic studies at the intersections of macroecology, evolution, community ecology and applied ecology. New dynamics in island biology are stimulated by four major developments.We are experiencing the emergence of a truly global and comprehensive island research community incorporating previously neglected islands and taxa.Macroecology and big-data analyses yield awealth of global-scale synthetic studies and detailed multi-island comparisons, while other modern research approaches such as genomics, phylogenetic and functional ecology, and palaeoecology, are also dispersing to islands. And, increasingly tight collaborations between basic research and conservation management make islands places where new conservation solutions for the twenty-first century are being tested. Islands are home to a disproportionate share of the world’s rare (and extinct) species, and there is an urgent need to develop increasingly collaborative and innovative research to address their conservation requirements.