Chapter

Environmental Controls on the Distribution of Species

Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland

in Stratigraphic Paleobiology

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226649375
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226649399 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226649399.003.0004
Environmental Controls on the Distribution of Species

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This chapter examines environmental controls on the distribution of organisms by focusing on niches and ecological gradients. The major types of environmental gradients in marine and terrestrial systems are also discussed. The geographic distribution of organisms is controlled by a wide range of environmental, biotic, and historical factors. The environmental and biotic components can generally be described as ecological gradients, with the dominant gradients being water depth in marine systems and elevation in terrestrial systems. The ability to estimate individual taxon response curves for any given environmental variable is a valuable step forward for understanding the ecology of fossil taxa. Multivariate methods help to quantify the ecological niches of organisms by formulating species response curves and relating them to environmental gradients.

Keywords: environmental controls; ecological gradients; taxon response curve; multivariate methods; fossil taxa

Chapter.  12429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palaeontology

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