Since death is a universal phenomenon and what happens after life has led to extensive forensic ecology research and we now know that the shell of the once living provides fertile ground for other life forms, spanning prokaryotic microbes to large, vertebrate scavengers, this ephemeral patch of newly available resources also provides rich sources of evidence that can be used in death investigation.
In recent years there have been substantial advances in technology that have facilitated the research and application of human remains decomposition in ways that harness theory and basic understanding of the ecological and evolutionary sciences (Tomberlin et al., 2011). To that end, this special issue covers the most recent perspectives and research that explores the complex ways that the once living can provide important information to the forensic sciences, in ways that can ultimately be applied to the judicial system and its processes. It is within this context of linking basic research in death and decomposition to applications of forensics that the special topic was born. (Publisher Abstract)