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This is the first issue of the new journal Geobiology. With this journal we provide a forum for the increasing numbers of geobiological studies that focus on interactions between organisms and the physical environment, on Earth and elsewhere. These interactions can be explored on spatial scales ranging from local to global, and on time scales from modern instants to the whole history of life on Earth. Our belief is that geobiological studies, with their inherent blending of biological and geological sciences, are served only awkwardly by established disciplinary journals, and this is our rationale for starting this new journal. Our hope is that Geobiology will emerge as the logical home for cutting-edge geobiological research and a meeting point for both biologically based and geologically based geobiological researchers. To help encourage the submission of the highest-quality manuscripts we are committed to rapid and rigorous peer review. To make the peer review process as fair as possible we offer a double-blind review system where the author's names are withheld from the reviewers and the reviewer's names are withheld from the authors.

The journal will be published 4 times a year, and is managed by 6 subject editors, one of which acts as Editor-in-Chief. We are also served by an editorial board of 67 prominent geobiologists who act as expert reviewers and who aid the subject editors in evaluating manuscripts. The scope of Geobiology is broad, and the subject editors have been chosen to reflect this breadth. A brief description of the subject areas where we anticipate manuscript submissions is provided on the Geobiology web site (http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/gbi/). We also recognize that any journal in this evolving discipline is by its nature dynamic and that Geobiology will obtain its own voice in a way that we cannot wholly predict.

Part of our motivation in starting Geobiology is the increasing prominence of geobiology as a scientific discipline. At the same time we wish to pay homage to a long history of enlightened thinking, where the coupling between biological and geological processes has been recognized. We can see such coupling in the writings of James Hutton (see discussion in the paper by Knoll in pp. 3–14), and much later by Vladimir Vernadsky in the early part of the 20th century who further explored the relationship between life and geological processes (Vernadsky, 1926). In 1934 Lourens Baas Becking coined the term ‘geobiology’, and outlined many geobiological processes in a manner much as we see them today (Baas Becking, 1934). The Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock (Lovelock, 1988), while controversial in many aspects, has highlighted the potential role of life in influencing, or even regulating, the surface environment of the Earth. These studies, and many more, have taught that life is nearly ubiquitous at the Earth surface, and even in the deep subsurface, interacting with geological materials in surprising ways. Within the pages of Geobiology we hope to see many new surprises revealed.

THE EDITORS

References

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  2. References
  • Baas Becking LGM (1934) Geobiologie: of Inleiding tot de Milieukunde, Van Stockum and Zoon, Den Haag.
  • Hutton J (1788) Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1(Part II), 209304.
  • Lovelock J (1988) The Ages of Gaia: a Biography of Our Living Planet. WW Norton, New York.
  • Vernadsky V (1926) The Biosphere. Abridged English edition published in 1986 by. Synergetic Press, Oracle, Arizona.