Biology Letters

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Contents and themes

As well as the conventional, short research articles, Biology Letters has recently published Special Features and Mini Series. [3] While Special Features are a collection of up to 20 articles on a specific theme and published across multiple issues, Mini Series include up to six articles that are published in one issue. Examples of topics in these formats include ocean acidification, [4] fossils, [5] extinction, [6] enhanced rock weathering [7] and the evolutionary ecology of species ranges. [8]

Content in the journal is regularly covered in the mainstream and social media. At the time of writing, a paper on Goffin’s cockatoos making tools to reach food [9] was featured in, The Guardian, New Scientist and The New York Times. Research describing the missing-link among dinosaurs [10] was reported by BBC News, CNN and The Times.

A 2010 study of bumblebee behaviour by pupils from Blackawton Primary School [11] [12] is the journal's most downloaded paper.


The journal was split off as a separate journal from the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in 2005 after having been published as a supplement. [13] Originally it was published quarterly, then bimonthly, and since 2013 it has been published monthly. The journal publishes short articles from across biology online (printing each issue ceased at the start of 2020).


As of 2021 (2020 JCR index), Biology Letters has an impact factor of 3.703 and is ranked 28th in the Biology category. [14] The journal is indexed in Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science.

Related Research Articles

Dinosaur Clade of sauropsid vertebrates that dominated the Mesozoic Era (including birds)

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 233.23 million years ago, although the exact origin and timing of the evolution of dinosaurs is the subject of active research. They became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates after the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event 201.3 million years ago; their dominance continued throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The fossil record shows that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier theropods during the Late Jurassic epoch, and are the only dinosaur lineage to survive the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event approximately 66 million years ago. Dinosaurs can therefore be divided into avian dinosaurs, or birds; and the extinct non-avian dinosaurs, which are all dinosaurs other than birds.

Extinction event Widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth

An extinction event is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth. Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the diversity and abundance of multicellular organisms. It occurs when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation. Estimates of the number of major mass extinctions in the last 440 million years range from as few as five to more than twenty. These differences stem from disagreement as to what constitutes a "major" extinction event, and the data chosen to measure past diversity.

Laridae Family of birds

Laridae is a family of seabirds in the order Charadriiformes that includes the gulls, terns and skimmers. It includes around 100 species arranged into 22 genera. They are an adaptable group of mostly aerial birds found worldwide.

Ornithischia Order of dinosaurs

Ornithischia is an extinct order of mainly herbivorous dinosaurs characterized by a pelvic structure superficially similar to that of birds. The name Ornithischia, or "bird-hipped", reflects this similarity and is derived from the Greek stem ornith- (ὀρνιθ-), meaning "of a bird", and ischion (ἴσχιον), plural ischia, meaning "hip joint". However, birds are only distantly related to this group as birds are theropod dinosaurs. Ornithischians with well known anatomical adaptations include the ceratopsians or "horn-faced" dinosaurs, armored dinosaurs (Thyreophora) such as stegosaurs and ankylosaurs, pachycephalosaurs and the ornithopods. There is strong evidence that certain groups of ornithischians lived in herds, often segregated by age group, with juveniles forming their own flocks separate from adults. Some were at least partially covered in filamentous pelts, and there is much debate over whether these filaments found in specimens of Tianyulong, Psittacosaurus, and Kulindadromeus may have been primitive feathers.

Rhynchocephalia Order of reptiles

Rhynchocephalia is an order of lizard-like reptiles that includes only one living species, the tuatara of New Zealand. Despite its current lack of diversity, during the Mesozoic rhynchocephalians were a diverse group including a wide array of morphologically distinct forms. The oldest record of the group is dated to the Middle Triassic around 238 to 240 million years ago, and they had achieved a worldwide distribution by the Early Jurassic. Most rhynchocephalians belong to the group Sphenodontia ('wedge-teeth'). Their closest living relatives are lizards and snakes in the order Squamata, with the two orders being grouped together in the superorder Lepidosauria.

Proceedings of the Royal Society is the parent title of two scientific journals published by the Royal Society. Originally a single journal, it was split into two separate journals in 1905:

Blackawton Human settlement in England

Blackawton is a village and civil parish in the South Hams district of Devon, England. According to the 2001 census, it had a population of 647. Blackawton is a major part of the West Dart electoral ward. The ward's population at the 2011 census was 1,946. The village is about six miles west of Dartmouth.

Michael Benton British palaeontologist

Michael James Benton is a British palaeontologist, and professor of vertebrate palaeontology in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. His published work has mostly concentrated on the evolution of Triassic reptiles but he has also worked on extinction events and faunal changes in the fossil record.

Evolution of birds Derivation of birds from a dinosaur precursor, and the adaptive radiation of bird species

The evolution of birds began in the Jurassic Period, with the earliest birds derived from a clade of theropod dinosaurs named Paraves. Birds are categorized as a biological class, Aves. For more than a century, the small theropod dinosaur Archaeopteryx lithographica from the Late Jurassic period was considered to have been the earliest bird. Modern phylogenies place birds in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. According to the current consensus, Aves and a sister group, the order Crocodilia, together are the sole living members of an unranked "reptile" clade, the Archosauria. Four distinct lineages of bird survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, giving rise to ostriches and relatives (Paleognathae), ducks and relatives (Anseriformes), ground-living fowl (Galliformes), and "modern birds" (Neoaves).

Sterling Nesbitt is an American paleontologist best known for his work on the origin and early evolutionary patterns of archosaurs. He is currently an associate professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Geosciences.

Silesauridae Extinct family of dinosaur-like reptiles

Silesauridae is an extinct family of Triassic dinosauriforms. It is most commonly considered to be a clade of non-dinosaur dinosauriforms, and the sister group of dinosaurs. Some studies have instead suggested that most or all silesaurids comprised an early diverging clade or a paraphyletic grade within ornithischian dinosaurs. Silesaurids have a consistent general body plan, with a fairly long neck and legs and possibly quadrupedal habits, but it is important to note that most sileaurids are heavily fragmentary nonetheless. Furthermore, they occupied a variety of ecological niches, with early silesaurids being carnivorous and later taxa having adaptations for specialized herbivory. As indicated by the contents of referred coprolites, Silesaurus may have been insectivorous, feeding selectively on small beetles and other arthropods.

<i>Mammuthus creticus</i> Extinct species of mammal

Mammuthus creticus, or the Cretan dwarf mammoth, is an extinct species of dwarf mammoth. With a shoulder height of about 1 m and a weight of about 310 kg, it was the smallest mammoth that ever existed.

The plate-toothed giant hutia is an extinct species of rodent in the family Heptaxodontidae. It is the only species within the genus Elasmodontomys. It was found in Puerto Rico.

David Beerling

David John Beerling is the Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate change mitigation and Sorby Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (APS) at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is also Editor in Chief of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Michael E. Hochberg is an American population biologist. He is currently a Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University of Montpellier, France, and a member of the External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute.

<i>Chilesaurus</i> Extinct genus of dinosaurs

Chilesaurus is an extinct genus of herbivorous dinosaur. The type and only known species so far is Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. Chilesaurus lived about 145 million years ago (Mya) in the Late Jurassic period of Chile. Showing a combination of traits from theropods, ornithischians, and sauropodomorphs, this genus has far-reaching implications for the evolution of dinosaurs, such as whether the traditional saurischian-ornithischian split is superior or inferior to the newly proposed group Ornithoscelida.

Kleptopredation is a form of feeding in which a predator eats prey after the prey has hunted, consuming both the prey and its recent meal. It is a specific type of kleptoparasitism. The term was first used in an article published in the journal Biology Letters.

Susannah Maidment

Susannah Catherine Rose Maidment is a British palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, London. She is internationally recognised for her research on ornithischian dinosaur evolution, and was awarded the 2016 Hodson Award of the Palaeontological Association and the 2017 Lyell Fund of the Geological Society of London. She was featured as a 2019 National Geographic Women of Impact.

Maria Byrne is professor of marine and developmental biology at the University of Sydney and a member of the Sydney Environment Institute. She spent 12 years as director of the university's research station on One Tree Island.

Susan Parks is an ecologist at Syracuse University known for her research on acoustic signaling and the impact of ambient noise on communication in marine mammals.


  1. "Professor David Beerling". University of Sheffield. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  2. "Editorial Board" . Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  3. "Special Features and Mini Series". Archived from the original on 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  4. "Ocean acidification" . Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  5. "Putting fossils in trees: combining morphology, time, and molecules to estimate phylogenies and divergence times" . Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  6. "Biology of extinction" . Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  7. "Enhanced rock weathering". Archived from the original on 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  8. "Evolutionary ecology of species ranges". Archived from the original on 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  9. Auersperg, Alice M. I.; Borasinski, Stefan; Laumer, Isabelle; Kacelnik, Alex (2016). "Goffin's cockatoos make the same tool type from different materials". Biology Letters. 12 (11): 20160689. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2016.0689. PMC   5134049 . PMID   27852942.
  10. Baron, Matthew G.; Barrett, Paul M. (2017). "A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs". Biology Letters. 13 (8): 20170220. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2017.0220. PMC   5582101 . PMID   28814574.
  11. "Primary school bee project published by Royal Society". BBC Online . 22 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  12. Blackawton Primary School; et al. (22 December 2010). "Blackawton bees — Biology Letters". Biology Letters. Royal Society. 7 (2): 168–172. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.1056. PMC   3061190 . PMID   21177694.
  13. "Frequently asked questions | Biology Letters". Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  14. "InCites™ [v2.25] - Sign In". Retrieved 2018-07-25.[ permanent dead link ]