The state of Darwinian theory
The year 2009 marked both the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth, and the passage of 150 years since the publication of his revolutionary book, commonly referred to as The Origin of Species (Darwin 1859). As part of the national celebrations that took place in the UK, a meeting on ‘Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution’ was held in Bristol on September 10 and 11, with a special focus on the mathematical modelling and application of Darwin's key theories. This special issue collects together selected papers presented at the meeting, including contributions by the four invited keynote speakers, Rob Boyd, A. W. F. Edwards, Hanna Kokko and Franjo Weissing, as well as papers received after the event. The topics of these papers span the modelling of a very wide range of Darwin's ideas, particularly evolution through natural selection, the origin of species, sexual selection, altruism and cooperation, and pangenesis, as well as applications of Darwinian thinking to the behaviour of animals, humans, and even human societies. It is hoped that this collection of papers will provide a useful snapshot of the state-of-the-art in Darwinian theory after the last one and a half centuries, and help to identify potential directions for research over the next.