March 5 2019

12:00 158 HH

Lauren Sallan
University of Pennsylvania

The Rise and Fall of Fishes


Almost all species which ever lived are now extinct, victims of changing environments, mass extinction, extreme competition, predation or profound shifts in required function. As a result, it can be difficult to reconstruct long-term evolution (macroevolution) from the lucky living forms alone, existing within a snapshot of geological time. I analyze the 500-million-year fossil record of fishes (half of all vertebrates; 34000 living species), an ecologically key yet paleobiologically-neglected group, to address major questions about macroevolutionary change. Here. I show how this fossil record, combined with observations from living fishes, can be used as database of natural experiments to enable new discoveries, using examples in which I applied quantitative approaches from disparate fields to the Paleozoic vertebrate record (~480-250 million years ago). These efforts revealed once-hidden mass extinctions, new determinants of survival and recovery, ecological and environmental drivers of trait change, and the habitat origins of our own early ancestors.

Host: Blaire Van Valkenburgh

Refreshments will be served at 11:40am











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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