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The challenges to inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time

The challenges to inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time
The challenges to inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time
Attempts to infer the ecological drivers of macroevolution in deep time have long drawn inspiration from work on extant systems, but long-term evolutionary and geological changes complicate the simple extrapolation of such theory. Recent efforts to incorporate a more informed ecology into macroevolution have moved beyond the descriptive, seeking to isolate generating mechanisms and produce testable hypotheses of how groups of organisms usurp each other or coexist over vast timespans. This theme issue aims to exemplify this progress, providing a series of case studies of how novel modelling approaches are helping infer the regulators of biodiversity in deep time. In this Introduction, we explore the challenges of these new approaches. First, we discuss how our choices of taxonomic units have implications for the conclusions drawn. Second, we emphasize the need to embrace the interdependence of biotic and abiotic changes, because no living organism ignores its environment. Third, in the light of parts 1 and 2, we discuss the set of dynamic signatures that we might expect to observe in the fossil record. Finally, we ask whether these dynamics represent the most ecologically informative foci for research efforts aimed at inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time. The papers in this theme issue contribute in each of these areas.
0962-8436
20150216
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Quental, Tiago B.
51ece63c-47d5-4b5f-bd35-549b8f7fdfbd
Benton, Michael J.
a0bcafa3-53ea-40ed-ae67-313e957904e0
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Quental, Tiago B.
51ece63c-47d5-4b5f-bd35-549b8f7fdfbd
Benton, Michael J.
a0bcafa3-53ea-40ed-ae67-313e957904e0

Ezard, Thomas H.G., Quental, Tiago B. and Benton, Michael J. (2016) The challenges to inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 371 (1691), 20150216. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0216).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Attempts to infer the ecological drivers of macroevolution in deep time have long drawn inspiration from work on extant systems, but long-term evolutionary and geological changes complicate the simple extrapolation of such theory. Recent efforts to incorporate a more informed ecology into macroevolution have moved beyond the descriptive, seeking to isolate generating mechanisms and produce testable hypotheses of how groups of organisms usurp each other or coexist over vast timespans. This theme issue aims to exemplify this progress, providing a series of case studies of how novel modelling approaches are helping infer the regulators of biodiversity in deep time. In this Introduction, we explore the challenges of these new approaches. First, we discuss how our choices of taxonomic units have implications for the conclusions drawn. Second, we emphasize the need to embrace the interdependence of biotic and abiotic changes, because no living organism ignores its environment. Third, in the light of parts 1 and 2, we discuss the set of dynamic signatures that we might expect to observe in the fossil record. Finally, we ask whether these dynamics represent the most ecologically informative foci for research efforts aimed at inferring the regulators of biodiversity in deep time. The papers in this theme issue contribute in each of these areas.

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EzardQuentalBenton - PTRSB Intro v2.0.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Published date: 14 March 2016
Organisations: Environmental, Paleooceanography & Palaeoclimate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 390447
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/390447
ISSN: 0962-8436
PURE UUID: 4c29425d-2106-4a75-b9ca-9cf265e054d1
ORCID for Thomas H.G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

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Date deposited: 01 Apr 2016 08:52
Last modified: 10 Jan 2022 03:00

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Contributors

Author: Thomas H.G. Ezard ORCID iD
Author: Tiago B. Quental
Author: Michael J. Benton

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