Over the past 50 years, annual killifishes arose as alternative model organisms for studies of vertebrate biology. The annual fish offers exceptional advantages for studies of genetics, genomics, developmental biology, population dynamics, ecology, biogeography, and evolution. They inhabit extremely variable freshwater environments in Africa and South America, have a short lifespan and a set of unique and fascinating developmental characteristics. Embryos survive within the dry substrate during the dry season, whereas the adult population dies. Thus, the survival of the populations is entirely dependent on the buried embryos that hatch the next rainy season. Although Old and New World species share similarities in their life cycle, they also have different adaptive responses associated with climate-related selective pressures. Therefore, contrasting different species from these areas is essential to understand unique adaptations to heterogeneous environment. A network of laboratories (United States, Czech Republic, Italy, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay) is working and collaborating on many aspects of the biology of annual fishes. Participating researchers share projects and cross-training undergraduate and graduate students. These efforts resulted in two International Symposia (2010 and 2015) that took place in Montevideo and an international book. Herein, we summarize the progress made by this global community of scientists.

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