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This volume is one of a succession of books published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, including volumes focused on Birds, Reptiles, Fish and Amphibians.

The chapters included in this book are a mere enumeration of some practical examples. There are many more species that can be used as non-conventional experimental models and the list should be expanded by different research groups and academics all over the world. We hope that many more scientists realise that it is more important to tackle subjects related to the status of the environment using autochthonous, or non-target species, which are truly exposed to locally used xenobiotic agents. On the other hand, this research plan would also increase the chances of independent scientists and research institutions gaining access to grants and attracting the attention of local authorities, who would be more interested in financing projects that really are within their sphere of political interest and pride, not to mention their country or province/district.

Without running the risk of being repetitive, we would like to recap on some important concepts as previously mentioned in the two volumes previously published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, i.e. Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Aquatic Models and Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Terrestrial Models, by the same editor group. We strongly recommend the perusal of both volumes, which are not overlapping subjects, in order to gain the full benefit of this series and have a more holistic and stimulating approach to the subject matter.

We share our planet with thousands of living species. Understanding how environmental stressors affect them will also help us in our quest for solutions to problems humanity is facing at present and which will be more relevant in the near future. Thinking out of the box and cross-linking medical with applied science will lead to a faster pace of understanding many of the factors relating to the emergence of diseases and thus help us in our search to find cures.

New emerging studies in several reputable publications, e.g. ref. 1, of common worldwide human diseases such as arterial hypertension, among others, seem to suggest that not only classical and lifestyle factors should be addressed in the search for adequate treatment. From a medical perspective, it is not only a disease of affluence. One in eight deaths worldwide is due to this condition and its corresponding factors (heart disease, kidney disease and stroke). These studies seem to suggest that a closer look at other, up till now unrelated factors is required. Early-life nutrition and exposure to air pollution, heavy metals and even noise are factors implicated, that may push blood pressure up later in life.

Many researchers have contributed to the publication of this book. We hope that it serves as a herald in order to bolster enthusiasm for the use of native, or easily available local species in order to widen our knowledge of the subject. We would like to especially thank the authors of the chapters for their positive responses, time, contributions and feedback, making possible the compilation of this book. The task had been further complicated by the global pandemic of COVID-19. Many, if not most, of our institutions had to close their doors or cease all academic activity for long periods of time. Access to data banks, field trips, etc. were curtailed, nevertheless, against all odds, we were able to compile this piece of work which we hope would be of interest, use, but above all for continuous nurture of the appetite for future lines of research. Last, but not least, our most sincere gratitude is expressed for the trust placed upon us by the Editor-in-Chief Diana Anderson, Series Editors Michael D. Waters, Timothy C. Marrs and Alok Dhawan, and the Royal Society of Chemistry in this project. We hope to have fulfilled the readers’ expectations.

Marcelo L. Larramendy

Guillermo Eli Liwszyc

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