We are all familiar with that heart-pounding, race-against-time feeling of stress be it at the workplace or at home.
But this is a very modern perspective on stress. As far as physiologists are concerned, stress is a well-known factor that has driven evolution and moulded the planet's ecosystems since life began. 'Stress is a hot topic', says Shireen Davies, from the University of Glasgow, UK, one of the editors of this collection of reviews, adding that the relevance of stress at a strategic level is becoming more apparent, with global concerns about climate change and food security high on the political agenda.
Explaining that responses to stress can be studied at almost every biological level, from the molecular mechanisms of cellular stress responses to stress in entire populations, Davies explains that she defines stress as the loss of homeostasis - an organism's ability to maintain a stable internal environment.Given the pressing nature of the environmental changes that we are currently experiencing and the ubiquitous nature of stress, Davies joined with two of The Journal of Experimental Biology's Editors, Julian Dow from the University of Glasgow, UK, and Ken Lukowiak from the University of Calgary, Canada, to collate one of the most comprehensive collections of reviews dedicated to the topic to date, which is published in The Journal of Experimental Biology on 18 December 2013 at jeb.biologists.org/content/217/1.toc.