Research

Habitat fragmentation, widespread invasive species, pollution, and rapid climate change simultaneously threaten modern ecosystems. These compounding effects make conservation planning difficult, obfuscating tactics to apply limited resources for the most effective preservation. With its rich record of biological responses to climate changes throughout geological time, the field of paleontology has great potential for informing conservation policy, providing data to test hypotheses of climate-driven faunal changes, inform predictions about future reactions, and examine fundamental biological principles of evolution and ecology. Our research examines the question “How have organisms in the past reacted to climate change, and how can we use this understanding to predict how organisms will evolve, shift their ranges, or go extinct given impending climate change?”



Approaches

  • Spatial statistics and modeling approaches using R and ArcGIS
  • Movement modeling:
    • Ecological Niche/Species Distribution Models (ENMs/SDMs)
    • corridor/connectivity models
    • landscape-species interactions
  • Geometric morphometric analyses of changes in intraspecific variation
  • Paleoecological evaluations of community change through time, including:
    • taphonomy
    • stratigraphy
    • radiocarbon dating
    • diversity analyses
    • community dynamics
    • paleontological database analyses
  • Catch & release assessments of modern mammal communities