Despite their extraordinary diversity, reptiles have attracted much less study than have the ‘higher’ vertebrates. Professor Shine’s pioneering studies on reptilian ecology and evolution have done much to redress this imbalance. His work spans the spectrum from evolutionary theory through to population ecology and reproductive biology. His conceptual syntheses, empirical reviews, and original studies in both the laboratory and the field, have used reptilian diversity to attack many questions of general importance. In particular, his work has substantially clarified the ways in which microevolutionary processes determine major life-history transitions, and illuminated the ecological role played by reptiles in natural ecosystems.