Palaeoecology

Definition

Palaeoecology is the study of past ecosystems using palaeontological methods. Fossil data are used to reconstruct interactions between different species and between species and their environment.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The evolutionary relationships between extinct species are almost exclusively based on the shape and structure of their fossil specimens. Now, a spectroscopic technique that records a ‘chemical fingerprint’ of fossil plant cuticles is being used to re-interpret the histories of thousands of specimens languishing in museum collections.

    • Jennifer C. McElwain
    Nature Plants 3, 17121
  • Editorial |

    Evolution is essential to understanding human biology, and the evolutionary impact of humans is an important factor in understanding the biology of other species.

  • News and Views |

    New palaeoecological data from New Guinea reveal that climatic change at the Holocene boundary is unlikely to have driven early agriculture in the region. More nuanced understanding of how humans responded to past climate change could better inform our responses in the future.

    • Ian Lilley
  • News and Views |

    Plant–insect interactions reveal rapid recovery of terrestrial ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, at more than twice the rate of contemporaneous Northern Hemisphere ecosystems.

    • Anne-Marie Tosolini
  • Correspondence |

    • Richard J. Telford
    • , Joseph D. Chipperfield
    • , Hilary H. Birks
    •  & H. John B. Birks
    Nature 538, E1–E2
  • Correspondence |

    • S. Kathleen Lyons
    • , Joshua H. Miller
    • , Kathryn L. Amatange
    • , Anna K. Behrensmeyer
    • , Antoine Bercovici
    • , Jessica L. Blois
    • , Matt Davis
    • , William DiMichele
    • , Andrew Du
    • , Jussi T. Eronen
    • , J. Tyler Faith
    • , Gary R. Graves
    • , Nathan Jud
    • , Conrad Labandeira
    • , Cindy V. Looy
    • , Brian McGill
    • , David Patterson
    • , Silvia Pineda-Munoz
    • , Richard Potts
    • , Brett Riddle
    • , Rebecca Terry
    • , Anikó Tóth
    • , Werner Ulrich
    • , Amelia Villaseñor
    • , Scott Wing
    • , Heidi Anderson
    • , John Anderson
    •  & Nicholas J. Gotelli
    Nature 538, E3–E4