Chapter

Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Health

Anthony D. Barnosky

in Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240827
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930858 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240827.003.0001
Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Health

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Porcupine Cave has produced an astounding number of fossils. More than 20,000 identified specimens of fossil vertebrates were distributed over more than 200,000 years, spanning at least two glacial–interglacial transitions as well as smaller-scale climatic fluctuations within glacials and interglacials. This book discusses the role paleontology plays in understanding ecosystem dynamics, such as the maintenance of biodiversity, the effects of climate change on biodiversity, and how biodiversity relates to the health of ecosystems. The faunal dynamics that characterize Porcupine Cave climatic transitions typify how ecosystems respond to climatic warming episodes. The book suggests that faunal responses to climate change may be useful as an ecological baseline against which future changes can be measured.

Keywords: Porcupine Cave; fossils; interglacials; paleontology; ecosystem dynamics; biodiversity; climate change; climatic transitions; warming

Chapter.  2208 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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