We are delighted to announce the availability of the data underlying the book “40 Years of Evolution” by Peter and Rosemary Grant. In this new book, the Grants give an account of their classic, long-term study of Darwin’s finches on one of the Galápagos Islands. From the announcement by Princeton University Press.
The authors used a vast and unparalleled range of ecological, behavioral, and genetic data–including song recordings, DNA analyses, and feeding and breeding behavior–to measure changes in finch populations on the small island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos archipelago. They find that natural selection happens repeatedly, that finches hybridize and exchange genes rarely, and that they compete for scarce food in times of drought, with the remarkable result that the finch populations today differ significantly in average beak size and shape from those of forty years ago. The authors’ most spectacular discovery is the initiation and establishment of a new lineage that now behaves as a new species, differing from others in size, song, and other characteristics. The authors emphasize the immeasurable value of continuous long-term studies of natural populations and of critical opportunities for detecting and understanding rare but significant events.
“40 Years of Evolution”, which is written a style that will be accessible to researchers, students and a more general audience, includes over 100 line drawings illustrating quantitative patterns among the many variables the authors have studied. There are 82 data files being made available in Dryad for researchers and students to explore the numbers behind those figures. We are proud to be the custodians of this unique scientific resource.
For students and teachers interested in the Grants’ long-term studies of Darwin’s Finches, we also recommend the excellent background material and hands-on data analysis activities from the HHMI BioInteractive site.
Data citation: Grant PR, Grant BR (2013) Data from: 40 years of evolution. Darwin’s finches on Daphne Major Island. Dryad Digital Repository. http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g6g3h