It is a privilege to study evolution in this tremendously exciting era. New ideas and data are flooding in and, to many of us, the findings are both exhilarating and challenging. Evolutionary biology has never been more vibrant.
At the same time, the very nature of the scientific process is changing. Social media is now a key science communication tool where scientific opinions are forged, and scientific debates are decided.
In recognition of these developments, Kevin Laland and colleagues are delighted to launch the EES Update, the social media package for the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis project:
Our objective is to provide a service to evolutionary biology and neighboring fields with helpful notifications and high-quality articles about the newest developments.
EES Update will provide regular posts about our ongoing research, informing you of our latest experimental and theoretical findings through Twitter and Facebook, and explaining their significance in accessible terms in blog posts. We will also publicize workshops, conferences and other scientific activities.
However, the remit of EES Update extends far beyond our own research. The EES team wants to help the scientific community understand and keep in touch with the latest research, irrespective of who conducts it. We cannot cover every area of evolutionary biology. Hence, they will concentrate on topics central to the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, those with potentially important implications for the explanatory structure of evolutionary biology: evo-devo, eco-devo, developmental bias and plasticity, expanded views of inheritance, niche construction, and philosophy of biology.
EES Update is for everyone
The EES Update should be a useful resource for researchers in a broad array of disciplines extending beyond evolutionary biology – genetics, developmental biology, paleontology, botany, earth sciences, epigenetics, archaeology, anthropology, psychology, cultural evolution, as well as the history and philosophy of biology. This goes for the website, which we plan to develop into a resource with overviews of the central topics and concepts, key papers to read, and ready access to information about evolutionary biology.
The team does not intend that EES Update should express a single view of how evolution works, but rather wish to promote pluralism and constructive dialogue. If, as the EES surmises, genetics is not enough to understand the role of development and inheritance in evolution, evolutionary biology will benefit from greater communication with other sciences – developmental biology, epigenetics, animal culture – even if they initially feel unfamiliar, or even daunting. Evolution will draw on expertise in an even greater number of fields.
Want to write for EES?
The EES Update blog will provide regular posts from leading scientists, but invites contributions from graduate students, postdocs and other professional academics. This is your forum, as much as it is theirs. You will work closely with the communications officer, Katrina Falkenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ensure the blog remains accurate, informative and accessible.
Also from the EES Update team: Equally, if your research falls within remit, then tell us when your novel findings are about to be published, and we might be able to help promote them. We hope that, in time, EES Update will become both an attractive forum for those enthused by science communication, and a key ‘go-to’ resource for evolutionary biology consumers.
For more details about the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, read the paper here:
Laland KN, Uller T, Feldman MW, et al. The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions and predictions. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. 2015;282(20151019). doi:10.1098/rspb.2015.1019.