Towards a synthesis of Cenozoic pantropical paleontology

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:K. G. Johnson, Klaus, J., Renema, W., Todd, J. A.
Conference Name:12 ICRS
Date Published:8-13 July 2012
Conference Location:Cairns, Australia
Full Text

The tropics hold the most diverse shallow marine ecosystems, and play a major role in controlling global climate. Study of past ecosystem response to environmental change provides critical information for understanding the long-term impacts of ongoing environmental change. Global changes are modulated by local environmental factors resulting in a regional pattern of biotic response. Each region can be thought of as treatments of a global-scale natural experiment. Was the response of ecosystems to rapid global changes similar? How connected are the regions biologically and what is the biogeographic pattern of change? Processes underpinning this response are migration, speciation and extinction. We expect that gradual and abrupt climatic, tectonic, and environmental alterations each leave their own signal. For most taxonomic groups, twenty-five years of Caribbean fieldwork has radically changed our understanding of the response of shallow marine ecosystems to regional environmental change. During the past five years, the volume of collections from SE Asia has increased by an order of magnitude. Much data exists in historical collections from the Mediterranean that currently are being pulled together. Moving forward, it is critical to build and integrate morphological and molecular collections from under-sampled groups and under-sampled regions. These new collections will force critical evaluation of previous taxonomy and will stimulate rapid development of a new global taxonomic framework. Recent advances in biodiversity informatics will permit integration of palaeoecological, geochronological and biozonational information and in turn will highlight the need for new age dates and an improved global correlation of biozones.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith