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This volume is the second one of a series of four books to be published by the Royal Society of Chemistry; the first in the series is that on Mammals (Marsupials and Placentals), and the second one is to be followed by those on Fish and Amphibians.

The chapters included in this book are just 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 realize 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 in getting 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 published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, i.e., Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Terrestrial Models and Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Aquatic 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 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 of problems humanity is facing at present and which will be more relevant in the near future. Thinking out of silos and crosslinking medical with applied science will lead to a faster pace of understanding many of the factors related to the emergence of a disease and thus help us in our search for finding a cure.

New emerging studies in several reputable publications (e.g., Worldwide Trends 1975–2015, The Lancet, 2016, 384(10064), 37–55) 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, so far unrelated factors is required. Early-life nutrition and exposure to air pollution, heavy metals and even noise are factors implicated, which 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 on the subject. We would like to especially thank the authors of the chapters for their positive response, their time, contribution 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., was curtailed; nevertheless, against all odds, we were able to compile this piece of work which we hope would be of interest, of use and above all would continuously nurture the appetite for future lines of research. Last, but not least, our most sincere gratitude for the trust deposited 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 reader's expectations.

Guillermo Eli Liwszyc

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Marcelo L. Larramendy

Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina

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