Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Wednesday Seminar

4:10 PM, 55 Roessler
Tea and cookies at 3:45 in the aviary - (2110 EPS)

“Beyond species diversity: Functional and trophic structure of marine invertebrate paleocommunities”

      – by Dr. Ashley Dineen

A major question in current paleoecology and modern ecology is how paleocommunities were restructured in the aftermath of planetary-scale massive environmental disturbances, and what makes some organisms and communities more resilient and stable than others during global change. These questions can potentially be answered by quantifying the functional diversity, network structure, and trait space dynamics of marine invertebrate paleocommunities. By using a paleoecological approach, it’s possible to establish how organisms reacted during periods of intense stress, and how they utilized both their environment and other organisms. The Mesozoic in particular is a period of taxonomic and ecological diversification, resulting in increase in ecospace, predatory escalation, motility, and shifting faunal dominance. Changing composition of increasingly escalated ecosystems may also have altered community responses to perturbation. This talk will examine how the abrupt biotic reorganizations of the marine realm, as a result of the Permo-Triassic and end-Triassic mass extinctions, as well as episodes of rapid diversification, changed the structure and function of ecosystems in the aftermath via
the creation of multidimensional ecospace models and food webs. Understanding what ecospace dynamics were like during paleoenvironmental shifts will not only add to our understanding of how these events shaped the context of our world today, but also help predict community-level impacts resulting from modern climate change.

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