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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

Preface

Summary

It is now more than 30 years since Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe's student text Life of Marsupials (1973) was published, and almost 30 years since the first compendia on marsupial biology appeared. Both bore the same title, The Biology of Marsupials, and were edited by B. Stonehouse and D. Gilmour (1977) and D. Hunsaker II (1977). Since then numerous more specialised books on various aspects of marsupial biology have appeared. However, with the exception of a new edition of Life of Marsupials (Tyndale-Biscoe 2005) that appeared while the current book was in production, none has the breadth of the earlier books. The closest is Marsupial Biology: Recent Research, New Perspectives, edited by N. R. Saunders and L. A. Hinds (1997). There is thus a need for a resource book that covers the many facets of marsupial biology, many of which are unique to the mammalian subclass Marsupialia.

In Marsupials we have harnessed the collective knowledge and wisdom of a select group of colleagues from the Americas and Australia. The result is a collection of essays that cover marsupials from their beginnings and subsequent evolution, through their genetics, anatomy, physiology, ecology and behaviour, to conservation management concerns. Each chapter stands as a view into the marsupial world by its author(s). Although all chapters have been independently reviewed, then edited for consistency and cross-referencing to other chapters, the original style has been retained in all cases.