2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 287-6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM-3:00 PM

FROM NATURAL HISTORY TO BIODIVERSITY STUDIES: PALEONTOLOGICAL DATA ENABLING NEW SYNTHESES IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION

LIEBERMAN, Bruce S., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd, Dyche Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045, blieber@ku.edu

Biologists and computer scientists have developed a sophisticated series of analytical techniques that utilize the rich diversity of life archived in natural history museum collections to address various questions about climate change, ecology, biogeography, and evolution. Although these biological studies provide many insights, they are hampered by the absence of temporal data and their inability to sample extinct taxa. Thankfully, these new research protocols can also be productively applied to the rich archive of paleontological data that is available. Applying these new protocols to modern and fossil biodiversity studies make it possible to address questions in a way that was not possible previously, and provides prospects for new theoretical insights and also syntheses between paleontology and biology. Here, the focus will be on discussing how GIS, PaleoGIS, and ecological niche modeling (ENM), in conjunction with detailed temporal, georeferenced, and environmental data from fossils and the rocks they are preserved in, has enhanced our understanding of ecology, macroevolution, and the history of life. Special emphasis will be placed on how these approaches have been used to study various topics including the nature of the Late Devonian biodiversity crisis and the end Ordovician mass extinction, aspects of the Cambrian radiation and the distribution of Burgess Shale type faunas, the macroevolutionary role of competition in the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, and finally the predicted future faunal effects of present day climate change. With the ever-increasing prospects for access to collections data using the web, it is anticipated that the number of studies, and also the potential insights available from them, will continue to grow. These new approaches represent a real opportunity for paleontology to better integrate with biology and to embrace what is literally a revolution in the biodiversity sciences.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 287
Geological and Paleobiological Collections: Best Practices for Preservation, Access, and Use in a Changing World II
Colorado Convention Center: Room 603
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 669

© Copyright 2010 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.