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“Introduction Present day life as we know it is dependent on oxygenic photosynthesis. It provides breathable air, and photosystem II can derive an unlimited source of electrons from water by using energy from the sun. The co-editors of this volume (Gantt and Falkowski) have invited specialists from a broad range of disciplines to benefit those readers interested in a comprehensive understanding of oxygenic photosynthesis. Major topics being addressed in the accompanying series of articles
relate to the evidence and time-lines of oxygenic photosynthesis on the earth (Farquhar et al. 2010), the resultant gains of an aerobic atmosphere and the increase in organismal size and diversity, as well as multicellularity (Payne et al. 2010). At the organismal level, some of the biggest questions are: what check details were the original key characteristics from which the photosynthetic reaction centers were derived (Allen and Williams 2010), what essential changes were required for electron production by the water
splitting complex (Williamson et al. 2010), and what is the evidence for the timeline of how long cyanobacteria have been around (Schopf 2010)? Present day chloroplasts, presumably all derived originally from one cyanobacterial endosymbiotic event, have become dispersed in single-celled eukaryotic “hosts” with the greatest dispersion among the chlorophyll c-containing algae (Green 2010). Numerous examples of symbiotic stages of photosynthetic SBE-��-CD order organisms in multicellular animals (Johnson 2010) lead to the interesting Vitamin B12 possibility that many of these are present day examples of chloroplast evolution in action, i.e., possible progressions from the symbiotic toward the endosymbiotic state. The contributing authors are specialists in their respective areas with different approaches, with all of them providing valuable critical views and updates of their fields. Their contributions with their own interpretations and evaluations is what makes this a combined richer offering, especially since all the areas covered continue to be actively explored, and hence change as new methods lead to new data and often to new interpretations.