Palaeoecology

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.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The Toarcian oceanic anoxic event disrupted terrestrial ecosystems as well as the marine realm, according to analyses of microfossils derived from land plants. Changes in diversity and composition were initially more rapid in terrestrial ecosystems.

    • Luke Mander
    •  & Jennifer C. McElwain
  • News and Views |

    The reduction in biodiversity after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event did not instantaneously create evolutionary opportunities for planktonic protists. Survivors instead re-diversified in pulses that followed morphological innovations.

    • Anne Weil
    •  & James W. Kirchner
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Macroscopic organisms from the late Ediacaran period have often been described as failed experiments in the history of life. We argue that the field of Ediacaran palaeobiology should dispense with unhelpful historical classification schemes and embrace phylogenetic systematics if we are to establish the evolutionary relevance of these fossils.

    • Frances S. Dunn
    •  & Alexander G. Liu
  • News and Views |

    Agriculture is one of the key innovations of human societies, yet the nature of and reasons for its emergence are debated. A new model that hindcasts past global population suggests that an improving climate increased plant productivity and human population density, facilitating domestication.

    • Dolores R. Piperno