Inferring ecological dynamics on geological time scales: planktonic foraminifera, open ocean ecosystems, and global change


Thursday, January 19, 2012
Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 Noon
Dr. Pincelli Hull
Post Doctoral Researcher
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University

The deep-time fossil record captures the historical response of open ocean ecosystems to profound, global disturbance on scale with the vast temporal and spatial scales of modern global change.  As such, research on the dynamics of species and ecosystems on ecological to geological time scales has the potential to provide novel insight into the stability, collapse, and recovery of oceans given large-scale, environmental change.  However, direct inference of past community dynamics is stymied by the preservation of only a small fraction of species, reworking of fossils on the sea floor, and large time steps between samples, among others. My research on the recovery of pelagic ecosystems from the last mass extinction (the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction) highlights both the challenges and promises of the fossil record for understanding modern oceans.