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Earth Sciences Department Seminar

Posted by C Lowry on Nov 22, 2012 12:46:43 PM

Palaeontology Seminar


The latitudinal biodiversity gradient through deep time


Dr Philip Mannion, Imperial College London


Thursday 29th November
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, 16:00 (second of two talks that day)



Today, biodiversity increases from polar to equatorial regions. Despite representing a fundamental pattern governing the distribution of the vast majority of life on Earth today, the causes of this latitudinal biodiversity gradient remain unresolved. Understanding this pattern is critical to predictions of climatically-driven biodiversity loss. The fossil record offers a unique perspective on the evolution of this gradient, providing a dynamic system in which to explore spatiotemporal diversity fluctuations. Deep time studies indicate that a gradient was present from 500 million years ago, but that it has not been a persistent pattern throughout the history of complex life. Instead, recent work has revealed a palaeotemperate peak in Mesozoic dinosaurs and other early Cenozoic groups, suggesting that the steep, modern-type gradient might only have come into existence in the last 30 million years



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