You now have in front of you the first issue of Volume 15 of Chelonian Conservation and Biology. This is the 37th CCB hard-copy issue, and it celebrates 10 years of our publishing partnership with Allen Press (since Volume 5, May 2006). With our first issue published in November 1993, we are in our 23rd year of existence, and we look forward to the big 25th Anniversary a couple years from now! And as with all past issues, Volume 15, Issue 1 contains articles about freshwater turtles, tortoises, and marine turtles and covers an array of topics (including ecology, systematics, paleontology, taxonomy, social science, demography, population status, conservation, reproduction, sex determination, orientation, morphology, climate change, and wildlife management).
Turtle research and conservation continues to find new horizons and tackle evolving challenges. CCB 15(1) does a superb job of both underscoring the multidisciplinary nature of these endeavors and highlighting the fact that turtle research and conservation is a global entity. Of the 19 articles in this issue, we have contributions from nine countries (Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Peru, Timor-Leste, Turkey, and the United States) spanning six continents. Indeed, CCB continues to be the International Journal of Turtle and Tortoise Research.
Balancing our international perspective among the three turtle groups is extremely important to us. In the current issue, we present 11 articles on marine turtles, 7 on freshwater turtles, and 1 on tortoises. Naturally, we'd like to have these numbers more evenly balanced. In terms of freshwater vs. marine turtle articles, it seems that each issue alternates between having each taxon with the majority of articles. However, the rate of tortoise-related submissions has always been relatively low. This may relate to the lesser species richness and/or distribution of tortoises vs. freshwater turtles, or perhaps there are simply fewer scientists studying tortoises. Regardless of the reason, our editorial team looks forward to more tortoise submissions so we can further learn about these amazing animals!
This issue marks the sixth time that we have a Featured Article, for which we elect a cover photo, provide free open access (for a period), and do a press release. This issue's Featured Article is by Cameron Barrows and colleagues and is entitled “Identifying Climate Refugia: A Framework to Inform Conservation Strategies for Agassiz's Desert Tortoise in a Warmer Future”. Climate change is something that humans and chelonids alike are dealing with, and this article provides a compelling example of how current tortoise management practices are being developed with climate change in mind. With limited mobility to move long distances to more-suitable habitat as climate change advances, a critical conservation task is identifying habitat that will remain suitable under the current climate and the anticipated end-of-the-21st Century warming and drying. In their article, Barrows et al. address this issue and show a means by which future optimal habitat can be projected and how tortoise survivorship can be maximized in the face of environmental shifts. I encourage you to read their interesting paper!
The publication of this 15th volume also marks the 11th year of my involvement with CCB as an Editor, and in that time, I have learned an incredible amount from our Founding Editor, Dr. Anders Rhodin. I have also stood on the shoulders of an incredible editorial team, lead by Editors Jeffrey Lovich (U.S. Geological Survey), Peter Lindeman (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), and Associate Editors Luca Luiselli (Centre of Environmental Studies Demetra), Joshua Ennen (Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute), Cristina A. Jones (Arizona Game & Fish Department), Sandra Hochscheid (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), and Vivian Páez (Universidad de Antioquia). Without their involvement, and the involvement of Consulting Editors Peter Pritchard and Russ Mittermeier, the success and long run of CCB would have been impossible!
I am still drawn to the fact that CCB is so much about the people involved—the editorial team, the authors, the reviewers, and you, the reader. Our authors continue to submit world-class papers about turtles and tortoises from around the world, and indeed, upon every submission I feel like I'm opening a new box of chocolates. Our reviewers are the very means by which we ensure that the articles that grace the pages of CCB are of the highest possible quality. I sincerely thank all the reviewers over all the years for their continued input and willingness to spend significant time helping improve our submissions. And finally, the readers, without whom there would be no CCB. For this, I send my greatest appreciation for your support over the years and your continued readership.