The demographic growth of the human population and the exploitation of natural resources have led to a progressive erosion of biological diversity.
The consequences of this erosion can be seen by the INCREASING EXTINCTION RATE OF SPECIES, the FRAGMENTATION OF POPULATIONS or the REDUCTION OF GENETIC DIVERSITY. This scenario is likely to become even more worrying with the expected global change.
The GROWING AWARENESS that BIODIVERSITY IS A PRECIOUS GLOBAL ASSET TO PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS and that species's survival and the integrity of habitats and ecosystems are at serious risk, has increased significantly the importance of biodiversity related research.
The acknowledgement of the IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH ON BIODIVERSITY and the development of new high-throughput methods for measuring natural variation at the genetic level led to a considerable impact of evolutionary biology on the biological sciences.
Today, EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY INFLUENCES significantly hypotheses and research programs from OTHER AREAS OF NATURAL SCIENCES. It has been found that a fundamental knowledge of the evolutionary processes underlying biodiversity and its variation is necessary to understand many biological systems.