Faunal response to sea-level and climate change in the Jurassic Sundance Seaway
  • Lecture Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University

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The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences organises a regular series of research seminars throughout the academic year to which everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers - both external and internal to the University - will talk on topics related to all aspects of Earth Sciences.

Today's speaker is Dr Silvia Danise from Plymouth University.

The fossil record provides important tools to understand the ecological and evolutionary responses of species to changes in their environment. Studies on the long term change in regional communities have shown that ecosystems alternate periods of faunal stability, in which they recur even after disruptions caused by cyclic sea-level variations, to periods of taxonomic turnover. Understanding the environmental change-turnover link remains a challenge in palaeoecology, particularly because even though environments are constantly shifting and changing over geological time, not all environmental changes cause turnover, raising issues of threshold effects. This is further complicated by the structure of the stratigraphic record, which controls where and when fossiliferous sediments are deposited and preserved.

In this seminar Silvia will reconstruct benthic community changes through the 13 myr history of the Jurassic Sundance Seaway in the western United States. She will show how the integration of palaeoecological data within a sequence stratigraphic and environmental framework is essential for a deeper understanding of factors underlying the change of fossil communities through time and space.

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