One of the major approaches we take in the lab is to couple fossil data with biodiversity and biogeographic models. This allows us to 1) build hypotheses for past or future processes and patterns based on different models and 2) use the fossil record to test the strengths and weaknesses of different modeling approaches in predicting biodiversity patterns across periods of climate change and different levels of climate and other forms of environmental novelty. This approach is particularly important for conservation paleobiology, and allows us to extend our insights from the fossil record into the future.
While almost all projects in the lab have some modeling component and there is a lot of cross-pollination with projects in the Community Dynamics research theme, the major projects that fall under this theme include:
- Jessica Blois and Kaitlin Maguire’s work comparing the robustness of SDMs versus CLMs for projecting species and communities across periods of climate novelty.
- Eric William’s dissertation work on northern California mammal range shifts
- Jessica’s postdoctoral research with Jack Williams on modeling the drivers of turnover across space and time in eastern North American fossil pollen assemblages, published in Ecography and PNAS
- Additionally, Jessica is working with Jenny McGuire, Michelle Lawing, Kaitlin Maguire, and Simon Goring on a project applying occupancy modeling to the fossil record. More on this project as it develops.