Chapter

The Ecology of Fossil Taxa through Time

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/9780226649399.003.0006
The Ecology of Fossil Taxa through Time

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This chapter examines the ecology of individual taxa and methods for determining how their ecology changes through time. The stratigraphic record provides the opportunity to map the spatial distribution of fossil taxa through time, including their geographic range, environmental preference, environmental breadth, and their spatial distribution of abundance. Tracing the niche dimensions of taxa through time requires that the environmental gradients over which a taxon ranges are preserved approximately equally through time. The ecology of fossil taxa is essential for the understanding of the history of life, yet little is currently known about niche dimensions of fossil taxa and how they change through time. Thus, sequence stratigraphy provides a high-resolution time-environment framework that allows us to model and measure the niches of fossil taxa and to understand the role of environmental change in niche evolution over a range of temporal scales.

Keywords: ecology; fossil taxa; stratigraphic record; time-environment framework; spatial distribution; temporal scales

Chapter.  6451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palaeontology

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