The study of islands as model systems has played an important role in the development of evolutionary and ecological theory. The 50th anniversary of MacArthur and Wilson's benchmark article in 1963, ‘An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography’, was an incentive for the authors, as, since that time, island systems have continued to provide new insights into the formation of ecological communities in general. New molecular tools and increasing data acquisition now permit re-assessment of some fundamental issues that interested MacArthur and Wilson. Although island-based theory is continually being enriched, incorporating non-equilibrium dynamics is identified as a major challenge for the future.
An article by the ISLANDS group
Warren B.H., Simberloff D., Ricklefs R.E., Aguilée R., Condamine F.D., Gravel D., Morlon H., Mouquet N., Rosindell J., Casquet J., Conti E., Cornuault J., Fernández-Palacios J-M., Hengl T., Norder S.J., Rijsdijk K.F., Sanmartín I., Strasberg D., Triantis K.A., Valente L.M., Whittaker R.J., Gillespie R.G., Emerson B.C, Thébaud C. (2015) Islands as model systems in ecology and evolution: prospects fifty years after MacArthur-Wilson. Ecology Letters 18(2): 200-217 . <doi: 11/ele.12398>