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Call for papers - Evolution of vertebrate flight

Guest Editors

Lead Guest Editor: Michael Pittman, PhD, MSc, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

Thomas Alexander Dececchi, PhD, Dakota State University, USA

Norberto Pedro Giannini, PhD, Unidad Ejecutora Lillo, CONICET – Fundación Miguel Lillo, Argentina

Michael B. Habib, PhD, MS, UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, USA

Submission Status: Open   |  Submission Deadline: 28 February 2025

BMC Ecology and Evolution invites submissions to our Collection on Evolution of vertebrate flight. This Collection invites researchers to contribute their work on the diverse aspects of flight evolution in vertebrates. It also seeks to showcase research on anatomical adaptations, evolutionary transitions, ecological implications, and genetic underpinnings of flight in vertebrates. By advancing our understanding of vertebrate flight, this Collection aims to provide valuable insights into the mechanisms of evolution and the ecological interactions of flying organisms.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Lead Guest Editor, Michael Pittman: PhD, MSc, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

Dr Michael Pittman is an integrative, multidisciplinary palaeobiologist at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He earned a BSc in Geology, MSc in Geoscience and PhD in Palaeobiology from UCL. His palaeobiology research covers anatomy, systematics, biomechanics, ecology and macroevolution, particularly of dinosaurs, the dinosaur-to-bird transition and vertebrate flight origins. He studies exceptionally preserved fossils using multiple methods, including laser-stimulated fluorescence. In addition to the journal’s Editorial Board and guest editing its collection ‘Paleoecology of extinct species’, he edited the special volume Pennaraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs: Past Progress and New Frontiers and organizes the International Pennaraptoran Dinosaur Symposium that includes outcomes here.

Thomas Alexander Dececchi: PhD, Dakota State University, USA

Dr Thomas Alexander Dececchi received his PhD from McGill University with a focus on vertebrate paleontology and more specifically the dinosaur to bird transition. His work looks at this transition, as well as the origin of flight, from a holistic perspective incorporating morphological, physiological, and behavioral information to more accurately reconstruct the paleoecology of paravian dinosaurs. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Biology at Dakota State University where his students and he are looking at new methods and perspectives to address currently unresolved aspects of this and other major vertebrate locomotory transitions.

Norberto Pedro Giannini: PhD, Unidad Ejecutora Lillo, CONICET – Fundación Miguel Lillo, Argentina

Dr Norberto Pedro Giannini is an Evolutionary Biologist focusing on bats, marsupials, and other mammals, some birds and plants, as well as the ecology of plant-animal interactions from an evolutionary perspective. He works in NW Argentina, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán and CONICET, associated with the Department of Mammalogy of the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Broadly, his research interests include major transitions in evolution, chiefly evolution of flight in mammals, integrating multiple sources of evidence such as fossils, aerodynamics, paleobiology, development, and phylogenetics.

Michael B. Habib: PhD, MS, UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, USA

Dr Michael Habib is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles and a Research Associate in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Dr Habib explores the relationships between animal structure and motion, particularly in the field of aeroemechanics, using a combination of comparative anatomy, art, and engineering. His work on animal launch provided the first robust explanation of giant size in pterosaurs and led to a fundamental reassessment of the mechanical limits of flying animals. Dr Habib has authored over 40 peer reviewed papers, with most of this body of work related to the origins and evolution of animal flight.

About the Collection

BMC Ecology and Evolution is calling for submissions to our Collection on Vertebrate flight evolution. Powered flight is one of the most complex and demanding locomotory behaviors known in vertebrates, evolving independently in only three different groups of tetrapods in 380+ million years: pterosaurs, theropod dinosaurs (including birds) and in bats. Each vertebrate flight origin story has its own strengths and weaknesses. 

BMC Ecology and Evolution has launched this Collection to attract papers that can cross-pollinate this multidisciplinary field to stimulate its further progress.

Image credit: © Julius T. Csotonyi & Charles M. Francis, Bat Conservation International

There are currently no articles in this collection.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Evolution of vertebrate flight" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.