InTech books highlights: overview of the last 10 years - Authors and co-authors

January, 2015

This year marks the 10th anniversary since we published the first InTech book. To celebrate this milestone, we have decided to homage all of our collaborators who have been key to our success in the past 10 years. Our upcoming series of articles, interviews and stat reports, which includes this one, will comprise the most compelling information regarding InTech authors, co-authors and editors, including some of their career stories. Our first feature of this anniversary series of news is dedicated to the numerous international authors and co-authors that have worked with us in the past years.

InTech & author collaborations in numbers:

  • 10 years
  • 136,701 authors and co-authors
  • 2,420 books
  • 39,260 chapters

InTech & author collaborations by subjects:

Author Spotlight

Dr. Benjamin Valdez Salas is a materials corrosions specialist that has been published more than 272 times and has participated to 25 research projects up until today. He is a Chemical Engineer with Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara and he is the founder and coordinator of the National Network of Corrosion. Dr. Salas has edited 3 InTech books and published 6 chapters. He was kind enough to provide us with the feedback on his publishing history, attitude towards Open Access, his reflections on working with InTech, and has also given us a piece of advice at the end. (read more)


InTech: When did you decide that you wanted to become a scientist?

Dr. Valdez: My interest in science starts during my high school days when I had chemistry classes. I had a very good chemistry teacher and she exerted a strong influence on me. After that, I decided to study Chemical Engineering and then apply for a Master and Doctor in Chemistry.

InTech: Why did you decide to dedicate your career to researching “Corrosion Engineering Science and Technology”?

Dr. Valdez: After obtaining my Bachelor degree, I moved to a research centre where I was accepted and worked on my thesis on corrosion of metals exposed to geothermal environments. This was my first encounter with corrosion science and engineering as well as electrochemistry, so I adopted this disciplines for my future development as a researcher.

InTech: How many publications in the field of Corrosion Engineering Science and Technology have you edited up until today?

Dr. Valdez: I have more than 200 publications on corrosion science and engineering topics including books, chapters of books, proceedings and articles. Also I am member of several editorial boards of journals such as Corrosion Engineering Science and Technology and Revista Metalurgia.

InTech: Can you tell us more about your work and current projects at the UABC,Mexico.

Dr. Valdez: My work during the last 25 years has been focused in materials research, since the appearance of corrosion problems in the industrial infrastructure to design and synthesis of nanoparticles for medicine and semiconductor applications, I have established a strong research group at the Institute of Engineering of the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California that works under my leadership in the research lines of applied electrochemistry, biofilms and biotechnology, corrosion and materials, semiconductors, microelectronics and nanotechnology. The current projects are related to the development of new nanoparticles for cancer treatment, high tech lubricants and corrosion inhibition, as well as the characterization for new semiconductor materials and corrosion and protection of industrial infrastructure.

InTech: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in your field?

Dr. Valdez: The biggest achievement in my research career is the transition from studying the corrosion phenomena in materials to the cancer process in human beings. This transition has allowed me to contribute with materials that are now used for the treatment of this disease in a successful way.

InTech: You are the editor of several books published with InTech What is the scope of the books? (general Overview)

Dr. Valdez: The books edited for InTech are focused on chemical engineering and its application to several industrial processes that include not only the scientific and technological aspects, but also the environmental, health and social concerns. In this view, the books edited focuses on with food, environmental, air quality and corrosion.

InTech: Describe your general view on InTech and the experience in publishing with InTech.

Dr. Valdez: InTech has a strong editorial process that provides an excellent tool for publishing research results and knowledge in an open access system where people from all over the world can access their publications for free. InTech published in most science fields and the editorial work is carefully conducted providing a high quality final product. My particular experience publishing with InTech is very positive with thousands of downloads to my work and an excellent feedback from colleagues over the world.

InTech: Now that you have edited an Open Access book, do you feel there are more benefits to it in comparison to traditional publishing?

Dr. Valdez: Definitively that open access has more benefits than traditional publishing, mostly because the results of the research, new knowledge or reviews can be rapidly accessed by users and that impacts the global development.

InTech: What was your understanding of Open Access before you started working with InTech?

Dr. Valdez: Since in our country databases of scientific information are expensive, I always look for a free source of information. In this way when I got the opportunity to work with InTech I accepted immediately.

InTech: Why did you decide to publish an Open Access chapter?

Dr. Valdez: To show more people our work and research activities.

InTech: Are researchers acquainted with the benefits of Open Access?

Dr. Valdez: Yes, nowadays researchers, students and the general public is acquainted with the benefits that open access provide.

InTech: Who influenced your career the most? Name 5 of your favorite people.

Dr. Valdez: Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, Mother Teresa.

InTech: Any last thoughts or advice you would like to share with us?

Dr. Valdez: Congratulations for your efforts in disseminating knowledge freely and the continuous improvement of the quality of your work.


Dr. Niklaus E. Zimmermann currently works as Adjunct Professor in Macroecology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) in Zurich. He is also a Senior Scientist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL (Zurich) and member of the directorate of the latter. His research focuses on modelling macroecological pattern and ecological dynamics of species, populations and biodiversity. Additionally, he has a strong interest in functional ecology and phylogenetic, and in better understanding the processes and constraints that limit species ranges at large spatial scales. This includes their physiological limitations, demographic processes, as well as interactions at the community level. In this interview, Dr. Zimmermann, one of the most influential scientific minds of 2014 (according to Thomson Reuters research on scientists whose work is considered to be most frequently acknowledged by peers), explains his research on phylogenetics, challenges that he faces as a scientist and gives an overall review of his rich scientific history as well as a reflection on his collaboration with InTech. (read more)


InTech: How did your career start? What is it that made you choose your current career path?

Dr. Zimmermann: I studied botany at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and I specialized in geobotany with a considerable focus on fieldwork. I was always fascinated by the diversity of nature, the obvious patterns of ecological adaptation associated with convergent evolution, and the variability in species ecological niches and strategies that result in some species being abundant and dominant, while others are rare and never reach dominance. Later, I realized that statistical and programming skills together with a sound theoretical background are needed to ask interesting scientific questions on the one hand and to answer them scientifically well on the other. I became interested in modelling and macroecological analyses. Overall, I was always lucky to work with interesting people. I believe that personal interactions can foster strongly creativity, and I have clearly profited during my early (and later) career from interactions with outstanding and inspiring scientists. I never had a clear career plan in mind, but rather responded to opportunities. This is a risky strategy, but I was always confident that I would find something I like. Yet, it could have taken different avenues, and I might have easily dropped out of science because of my (unclear) choices. A review paper on habitat distribution modelling published rather early in my career (2000) with my colleague Antoine Guisan certainly had a strong influence on my career. It became one of the most cited papers in ecology and environmental sciences, and because of this success, I finally started focusing a bit better my research around this topic.

InTech: Can you tell us more about your work at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL?

Dr. Zimmermann: I am currently a senior scientist with a small research team at WSL. Until a year ago, I was the head of the Landscape Dynamics research unit, and decided to step down in order to have more time for my own research and the teaching at the ETH Zurich. My team analyzes macroecological patterns and processes with increasing links to macroevolution. In addition, we often study how global change might affect species and biodiversity in the future. Some of my own research time is additionally focused towards informing interested managers or practitioners. The chapters I have contributed to the InTech book from the INTERREG project MANFRED are examples thereof.

InTech: What can you tell us about your latest research efforts in the field of phylogenetics?

Dr. Zimmermann: We focus on several novel aspects of phylogenetic comparative analyses. Biodiversity research has focused much on the analysis and theoretical foundation of alpha and gamma diversity (the diversity of plants and animals per plot or per region). Much less emphasis was given to beta diversity, the turnover between plots, regions, or along gradients. And even much less theory has been developed as to how turnover is structured or can by hypothesized to respond to scales, gradients or pressures. So we currently focus on the analysis and theory of taxonomic (species) turnover, but also on phylogenetic (considering the degree of phylogenetic relationship among species) and functional (considering the degree of trait relationship among species) turnover. The extension to include phylogenetic information is highly interesting, because it doesn’t treat all species as independent units for the analysis, but rather views them as more or less closely related organisms that share more or less properties, and are thus more or less independent in shaping biodiversity patterns.The same holds partly for adding traits to biodiversity research. In summary, adding a phylogenetic perspective to biodiversity research, we can link information from evolution and its processes to understand how biodiversity patterns and community structures have evolved. Although the general analytical framework of phylogenetic comparative methods has been out for a while, it has only become more widely used with the latest proliferation of gene sequencing techniques that have made it possible to process large samples time- and cost-efficiently, so that many and larger phylogenies are becoming feasible and available. We can now answer questions related to how biodiversity has evolved or how communities are being structured in a way that was not possible even 10-15 years ago due to a lack of data. Partly, we build our own phylogenies, and partly we collaborate with phylogenetists and macroecologists for our analyses. One research focus in my team has been on fire adaptation in different plant groups, and how this has affected the diversification rates of the species groups, once they have developed traits that stand for adaptations to fire. Another focus is currently on traits and evolutionary adaptations that allow plants to migrate rapidly (or not) and thus being predisposed for becoming invasive.

InTech: You study how species adapt to changing environments. Our century is characterized by a fast-paced, ever-changing environment as a consequence of industrial and technological advances. How does that reflect to the evolution of species and their adaptation to the modern age?

Dr. Zimmermann: This is a difficult question. Plants and animals have always adapted to a changing environment, and they will continue to do so. Some, especially animal, species have developed behaviors that allow them to follow humans or to survive in human dominated landscapes. One key example is the peppered moth (rapid) evolution in response to air pollution. The moth that has adapted to hiding on birch bark with a spotted whitish wing color has evolved rapidly to a black wing color in the late 19th and early 20th century due to the fact that in industrialized regions the bark of birch has turned blackish from polluted air. Now that the air is becoming cleaner again, the moth changes its wing color back to white. The major difficulty we face currently is in the fact that many human induced pressures build or change with a very rapid pace. Some species (usually the very short-lived, such as e.g. insects) respond extremely fast to these changing conditions, e.g. by migrating almost at the velocity of climate change to new areas where they find suitable habitats, or they adapt very rapidly their behavior or build new traits. Other species (usually the very long-lived, such as e.g. trees) are far too slow to respond and adapt. They may continue to tolerate increasing stress levels for a while, but then the amount of change may reach a point of no return. This has two important ecological consequences. On the one hand, the difference in adaptation and response rates to ongoing change among different species poses big problems to food webs and interaction networks. On the other hand, we realize that species are lagging behind for quite a while in their response to ongoing changes, but it is difficult to forecast the timing of rapid response, when climate change exceeds the tolerance levels of a given species.

Related to interaction networks, if one species is not responding or is responding faster than others, then this it can have cascading effects. One example it the collapse of Whitebark pine forests in Northwestern America, where mountain pine beetles, usually attacking Lodgepole pine that is adapted to this stress through co-evolution, now shift their habitat rapidly to higher altitudes due to warmer winters and thus attack Whitebark pine. These high elevation pines are not adapted to these attacks, and now die back over huge areas in the Central and Northern Rocky mountains. This has not only dramatic consequences for the maintenance of Whitebark pine ecosystems, but has also cascading effects on either natural hazards (loss of avalanche protection) or the behavior of grizzly bears. These bears usually feed on bird- and rodent-cached pine nuts that are rich in proteins before hibernation. Without this food source, the wake up hungry in the middle of the winter and start searching for food.

Related to lagged responses, we know that most species and ecosystems respond slower than the observed environmental change velocity. While land use change has a rather direct effect (local extinction, thinning and increasing isolation of populations), we see that the response to climate change is – in many cases – almost completely lacking or is at best very slow. This shows that species and ecosystems have a certain tolerance to environmental variability, yet their tolerance will be reached if the change continues to build up. We lack a clear physiological understanding of this point of no return for almost all species. This means that we currently do not yet see the full effect of the recent changes. We know that the degree of change we have seen should translate into more change. If e.g. environmental change would halt now, we likely would only see a gentle adjustment of species ranges and community compositions. Yet, a continuing change will result in more and more species reaching their physiological limits, which can cause dramatic effects (see e.g. below). We therefore talk of a foreseeable “extinction debt”, which means that we locally expect many species to respond with delay. If this local extinction is catastrophic (e.g. such as in South Western US forests, see below), then this can have severe effects to our wellbeing and security. Careful ecosystem management (e.g. in forestry) can mitigate these effects to some degree, but likely not completely.

InTech: How far are we in terms of predicting how certain global changes (climate, deforestation, population density etc..) will affect biodiversity in the upcoming decades?

Dr. Zimmermann: Many elements of the biodiversity response to global change are understood quite well by now. We have a comparably good handle on how population density, deforestation and climate change affect the loss or displacement of biodiversity in general. I see two major difficulties, where we still only have very limited knowledge to date. On the one hand, we do not know well, how frequency and severity of extreme events affect biodiversity in the longer run. On the other hand, we have only limited understanding of the processes related biodiversity change under forecasted rates of climate change, since we have no comparable experience (or experiments) that can be used for such rapid changes.

Related to frequency and severity of extremes, the summer 2003 has affected the demographics of some species in Central/Southern Europe, but it didn’t have a very long lasting effect. Yet, if such events become more frequent, or even very severe, then we will probably see a very strong effect, with larger scale diebacks of important plant species in ecosystems. The diebacks of Scots pine forests at low altitudes dry valleys of the Alps are one (small-scale) example of this. In the Southwest if the USA, such diebacks (again of pine species) have recently taken place over many square kilometers, and have reached landscape scale significance. The recent extreme drought in California for 5 successive years is another such example of an extreme event, the effect of which on biodiversity we are only starting to understand.

Related to climate change velocity (see also above), the rate of change is speeding up, and the warming/drying accelerates in some regions of the globe. We have comparably little experience in forecasting, how very rapid changes are affecting biodiversity and other elements of our life. In the past, land use change has been a major threat to biodiversity, and the effect of changing land use has been well studied. Climate change has built up over the last 150 years, starting slowly and with some fluctuations. Most likely, we do not yet see the real effect of climate change on biodiversity, because the recent changes are still within the natural range of variability of plants and animals, which they have evolved to tolerate. We also came from the so-called “Little Ice Age”, a temperature decline that has started ca. 1000 years before present. Now we are back to approximately the same temperatures as ca. 1000 years ago, or are getting just above these values. If warming continues to accelerate and reaches well above current temperatures and extremes, then we may all of a sudden see much more dramatic effects from this rapid change. Again, the example of California may serve as a good example, but we do not yet know, how the Californian ecosystems will respond to this extreme event.

InTech: Based on what criteria you decide what species to study?

Dr. Zimmermann: Science strongly depends on large and well-designed and sampled data. So I often rather ask: what data sets are available for a question I want to study, not what species I want to study. Often, we find good data for tree species, or for Northern Hemisphere data in general. In other cases, we want to study a system that is ideal for the question asked. E.g. it is tempting to study evolutionary processes in regions such as the (sub-)tropics or in South Africa, because these systems have been less affected by massive species loss during Ice Ages. But then, in some cases I am also driven by opportunities and interactions with colleagues.

InTech: Does your type of research affect your personal habits of protecting the environment and certain biological species?

Dr. Zimmermann: I think it does. In Europe, I often travel by public transportation instead of using cars or planes when travelling to meetings. For my daily work commute, I use train and bike. When travelling very large distances (e.g. to the USA), I always try to combine several meetings, collaboration visits or research stays, so that I am not simply going there for a short event. In Switzerland and especially in my village I engage politically for nature protection, e.g. in my role as member of the commission for the environment and for renewable energy and resources.

InTech: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the field of phylogenetics?

Dr. Zimmermann: I am rather new in this research field and do not want to speak about a big achievement yet in phylogenetics. My biggest past achievements were rather on laying the foundation for species distribution and niche-based models and by contributing strongly to its maturity. I certainly hope to contribute soon to a better conceptual understanding of phylogenetic beta diversity, and an evolutionary understanding of biodiversity patterns. Yet, I still have some ways to go before speaking of big achievements.

InTech: This year InTech celebrates 10 years of its first published book. We published 
your chapter titled “Potential Future Ranges of Tree Species in the Alps” in the 
Book “Management Strategies to Adapt Alpine Space Forests to Climate Change Risks”. What do you think when you look back at that chapter?


Dr. Zimmermann: It made me aware of the challenges when trying to translate science into practice. As scientists, we are usually well aware of the limitations and failures of models. We discuss them, and we try to show where improvements are possible. When handing over a projection of what might be the future distribution potential of a tree species to practitioners, we cannot do this simply by giving them maps. We need to explain in practical terms, what these maps can do and what they cannot be used for. And we may also realize that not all products we have developed are ready for use by practitioners. I have been confronted several times with such questions over the last years. Yet, I like this challenge, and will continue or even extend my efforts to make research applicable to practice. I find it a challenging but rewarding effort.

InTech: Any last thoughts or advice you would like to share with us?

Dr. Zimmermann: Many results from our research become more and more useful for practitioners, managers, decision makers, journalists, or other scientists. Our research continues, refines and advances, often only with small increments. Yet, material that has been published few years ago can rapidly get outdated. I often wish I could publish my work more interactively, into online repositories accessible through the Internet, where I would ideally get support for archiving the digested research results (e.g. publishable maps for climate change impact models) from publishers. Such repositories could be updated, and allow for keeping results useful for a longer time span. If also data or models as objects could be stored and distributed that way, then the results would become useful to many more users, and the publication through this proliferation better cited.


InTech & author collaborations by countries:

Out of 196 countries in the World, InTech has worked with authors and co authors from 149 countries.

Author collaborations by regions:

InTech & author collaborations from 500 Universities:

Acknowledgments

During these 10 years, we are proud to have encountered and worked with so many of you and we are grateful that you have acknowledged our continuous effort to assist you in the publishing process and give you the visibility you deserve. Thank you for this!

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Detailed information about the publishing process and the opportunity to publish with us can be found here. For further questions please feel free to contact us at book.department@intechopen.com.