Paper No. 239-12
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM
THE USE OF DIGITIZED DATA IN PALEOBIOGEOGRAPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF MACROEVOLUTION
Paleobiogeography focuses on patterns of species’ distribution and how they might reflect processes that impact patterns of speciation and extinction. Historically, quantitative paleobiogeographical investigations have focused on phylogenetic relationships through space and time. More recently, however, the field has begun to apply quantitative techniques to more macroecological questions, including how macroecological traits (e.g., range size, niche breadth, body size, abundance, dispersal capacity) impact extinction susceptibility and speciation potential under different environmental regimes and styles of environmental change. Numerous multivariate modeling techniques exist to correlate taxon traits with macroevolutionary outcomes, but all require high-resolution digital paleobiological and sedimentological data. Whereas paleobiological data are used to reconstruct taxon distributions, sedimentological data are needed to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions in which fossil taxa lived. Here, we focus on the types of digital data needed for quantitative paleobiogeography using PaleoENM, a modern ecological niche modeling (ENM) technique applied to the deep time fossil record. We highlight exciting current research on the macroevolutionary impact of niche stability, niche breadth, and range size (including examples from the Ordovician, Late Cretaceous, and Neogene). We address important methodological considerations when applying PaleoENMs using digital fossil occurrence data within a spatially explicit paleoenvironmental context (e.g., sampling and taphonomic biases; sediment-based vs. climate model-based paleoenvironmental reconstructions), compare and contrast PaleoENM with other methods for paleobiogeographical analysis, and discuss the potential of this technique to illuminate macroevolutionary patterns in deep time.