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Evolutionary Paleoecology

Evolutionary Paleoecology: The Ecological Context of Macroevolutionary Change

Warren D. Allmon
David J. Bottjer
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Evolutionary Paleoecology
    Book Description:

    One of the most important questions we can ask about life is "Does ecology matter?" Most biologists and paleontologists are trained to answer "yes," but the exact mechanisms by which ecology matters in the context of patterns that play out over millions of years have never been entirely clear. This book examines these mechanisms and looks at how ancient environments affected evolution, focusing on long-term macroevolutionary changes as seen in the fossil record.

    Evolutionary paleoecology is not a new discipline. Beginning with Darwin, researchers have attempted to understand how the environment has affected evolutionary history. But as we learn more about these patterns, the search for a new synthetic view of the evolutionary process that integrates species evolution, ecology, and mass extinctions becomes ever more pressing. The present volume is a benchmark sampler of active research in this ever more active field.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52852-8
    Subjects: Paleontology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Dedication
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. 1 Evolutionary Paleoecology: The Maturation of a Discipline
    (pp. 1-8)
    Warren D. Allmon and David J. Bottjer

    EVERY BOOK HAS A HISTORY. In this instance, the history says much about the changes in the discipline of evolutionary paleoecology. Around 1990, one of us proposed the idea for a symposium on evolutionary paleoecology to the Paleontological Society. There was only moderate interest in the topic, however, and it entered the queue of symposium topics to be almost forgotten, even by the proposer. In early 1995 the coordinator for the Paleontological Society reminded the proposer that the symposium was approaching the top of the pile and that he needed to begin to get things organized. This time,intrest among potential...

  6. 2 Scaling Is Everything: Brief Comments on Evolutionary Paleoecology
    (pp. 9-14)
    James W. Valentine

    BECAUSE I USED THE TERM EVOLUTIONARY PALEOECOLOGY in the title of a book in 1973 when the field was developing (Valentine 1973), the editors of this volume asked me to write briefly about the genesis of this term and to comment on how this field has fared. That book, Evolutionary Paleoecology of the Marine Biosphere, was indeed part of a broad movement to apply what was known about invertebrate fossils to attempt to answer biological questions. This movement involved a long series of contributions by many workers. My remarks are restricted to marine invertebrate studies.

    The title, Evolutionary Paleoecology of...

  7. 3 What’s in a Name? Ecologic Entities and the Marine Paleoecologic Record
    (pp. 15-34)
    William Miller III

    IMAGINE A COMMUNITY ECOLOGIST venturing into the literature of marine paleoecology for the first time. Let us say that her first exposure will be in the reading of a volume of contributed chapters, such as this one. If our colleague scratches her head each time she is confused over inconsistent and illogical usage of unit definitions, by the end of the book she might be bald. This would be no reflection on the quality of data or analytical rigor in such volumes, but rather a consequence of a prevailing indifference to fundamental properties of the ecologic entities recorded in fossil...

  8. 4 The Ecological Architecture of Major Events in the Phanerozoic History of Marine Invertebrate Life
    (pp. 35-62)
    David J. Bottjer, Mary L. Droser, Peter M. Sheehan and George R. McGhee Jr.

    THE HISTORY OF LIFE IS PUNCTUATED by mass extinctions, their recoveries, and radiations. Although the recognition and understanding of these events comes largely from taxonomic data, researchers have striven to evaluate changing ecologies associated with these events. However, evolutionary paleoecologists are still in the early stages of recognizing the particular paleoecological patterns that are associated with significant events in the history of life. Once they reach a good understanding of these patterns, they can begin to make real progress in understanding the processes that caused these paleoecological patterns. Modern ecologists find themselves in a similar position because they too are...

  9. 5 Stability in Ecological and Paleoecological Systems: Variability at Both Short and Long Timescales
    (pp. 63-82)
    Carol M. Tang

    THE FIELD OF EVOLUTIONARY PALEOEOLOGY encompasses the disciplines of evolutionary biology, ecology, geology, and paleontology. In the past, studies in evolutionary paleoecology have focused on two somewhat divergent aspects: (1) the study of the ecology of evolution and (2) the study of the evolution of ecology. The first subfield is concerned with the environmental and ecological conditions that accompany and possibly even stimulate or constrain speciation and macroevolutionary processes. On the other hand, the study of the evolution of ecology is concerned with how communities and ecological structures, in response to evolutionary and environmental parameters, have changed through time.


  10. 6 Applying Molecular Phylogeography to Test Paleoecological Hypotheses: A Case Study Involving Amblema plicata (Mollusca: Unionidae)
    (pp. 83-104)
    Bruce S. Lieberman

    A SUBJECT THAT HAS ATTRACTED considerable debate in paleontology is the issue of what happens to communities over long periods of time. Are they obdurately stable entities, as some have argued (e.g., Jackson 1992; Morris et al. 1995; Jackson, Budd, and Pandolfi 1996), or are they ephemeral entities, transitory over long time intervals, and representative of a set of species whose broad environmental preferences happen to overlap in a given area (e.g., Davis 1986; Huntley and Webb 1989; Bambach and Bennington 1996)? Because the debate on this topic involves data from a varity of fields,including ecology,evolutionary biology, and paleontology, there...

  11. 7 Nutrients and Evolution in the Marine Realm
    (pp. 105-148)
    Warren D. Allmon and Robert M. Ross

    IT IS A CENTRAL THEME OF ECOLOGY that energy flow is one of the most important aspects of any biological community or ecosystem (e.g., Ricklefs 1990; Begon, Harper, and Townsend 1996). Under various terms (e.g., trophic structure, nutrient cycling, etc.), the causes and effects of energy transfer and how it is accomplished among organisms and taxa are virtually universally viewed as among the basic organizing factors of the biosphere. This is an ecologicalview. When this view is expanded to longer or evolutionary timescales, it frequently has been assumed that because energy has such an important role in organizing ecological relationships,...

  12. 8 The Role of Ecological Interactions in the Evolution of Naticid Gastropods and Their Molluscan Prey
    (pp. 149-170)
    Patricia H. Kelley and Thor A. Hansen

    DURING THE 25 YEARS since Eldredge and Gould (1972) proposed the hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium, many case studies have examined the tempo and mode of evolution of particular taxonomic groups. Although results vary among groups, stasis and punctuational change have been documented within the history of many benthic marine invertebrates (Gould and Eldredge 1993). The dominance of stasis in some lineages has raised the question of whether ecological interactions play a significant role in the evolutionary process (Gould 1985, 1990; Allmon 1992, 1994). In addition, the view that mass extinctions undo trends that may accumulate at lower “tiers” further questions...

  13. 9 Evolutionary Paleoecology of Caribbean Coral Reefs
    (pp. 171-234)
    Richard B. Aronson and William F. Precht

    ECOLOGISTS HAVE RADICALLY ALTERED their thinking about coral reefs, and those views continue to evolve. Coral reefs, formerly viewed as stable, equilibrial systems (Newell 1971), are now interpreted as nonequilibrial on ecologically relevant scales of time (years to decades) and space (landscapes to reef systems) (Grigg and Dollar 1990; Karlson and Hurd 1993; Edmunds and Bruno 1996; Brown 1997). Increasing awareness of this variability is motivating a strategic shift in coral reef research. Paleontologists are taking up the quest for predictability, searching for large-scale patterns in the fossil record (Jackson, Budd, and Pandolfi 1996).

    The nonequilibrial view of reef ecology...

  14. 10 Rates and Processes of Terrestrial Nutrient Cycling in the Paleozoic: The World Before Beetles, Termites, and Flies
    (pp. 235-284)
    Anne Raymond, Paul Cutlip and Merrill Sweet

    RATES OF ORGANIC decomposition and weathering directly affect the primary productivity of terrestrial ecosystems because they control nutrient availability (Beerbower 1985; Jordan 1985; Perry 1994). Of these two factors, organic decomposition may have greater influence on terrestrial primary productivity through geologic time. Although rates of physical and chemical weathering probably changed with the evolution of land plants, since the appearance of trees in the Late Devonian, the evolution of new plant groups and morphologies may not have affected weathering rates, especially in moist lowland habitats (Robinson 1991; see Knoll and James 1987 for another view). In modern forest ecosystems, most...

  15. 11 Ecological Sorting of Vascular Plant Classes During the Paleozoic Evolutionary Radiation
    (pp. 285-336)
    William A. DiMichele, William E. Stein and Richard M. Bateman

    THE DISTINCTIVE BODY PLANS of vascular plants (lycopsids, ferns, sphenopsids, seed plants), corresponding roughly to traditional Linnean classes, originated in a radiation that began in the late Middle Devonian and ended in the Early Carboniferous. This relatively brief radiation followed a long period in the Silurian and Early Devonian during which morphological complexity accrued slowly and preceded evolutionary diversifications confined within major body-plan themes during the Carboniferous. During the Middle Devonian– Early Carboniferous morphological radiation, the major class-level clades also became differentiated ecologically: Lycopsids were centered in wetlands, seed plants in terra firma environments, sphenopsids in aggradational habitats, and ferns...

  16. Author Index
    (pp. 337-348)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 349-358)