Postdoctoral Fellow

Competition and meso-evolutionary change in the mammalian fossil record

PI(s): Paula Spaeth
Start Date: 1-Dec-2007
End Date: 26-Jun-2009
Keywords: species interactions

How have species interactions shaped the diversity of life? I propose to examine the role played by interspecific competition over evolutionary time using paleontological data. I will evaluate the strength of competition using fossil assemblages that preserve temporally and spatially circumscribed local communities of co-occurring taxa sharing a similar resource pool. This project will unite ecological methods derived from the study of modern communities with stratigraphic information from mammalian faunas from the fossil record. In contrast to previous examinations of the role of competition in generating macroevolutionary patterns of origination and extinction, I propose to examine meso-evolutionary changes such as abundance, range, and morphology shifts evident in the history of life with regard to the role played by competition. I propose to focus in particular on late-Cenozoic mammalian fossil records from the Northern Hemisphere.

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