The study of biodiversity through geological time provides important information for the understanding of diversity patterns at the present day. Hitherto, much effort has been paid to studying the mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic but the research emphasis has now changed to focus on what occurred between these spectacular catastrophic events. After the Cambrian 'explosion' of marine organisms with readily preservable skeletons, there have been two intervals when life radiated dramatically - the Ordovician Period, and the mid-Mesozoic-Cenozoic eras. These intervals saw a fundamental reoganization of biodiversity on a hierarchy of biogeographical scales. The size of these diversity increases and their probable causes are topics of intense debate, and there is an intriguing link between the dispersal of continents, changing climates and the proliferation of life.Palaeobiogeography and Biodiversity Change: the Ordovician and Mesozoic-Cenozoic Radiations illustrates many aspects of the two great episodes of biotic radiation and shows how long periods of time and plate tectonic movements have a fundamental influence on the generation and maintenance of major extant biodiversity patterns.
Contents: Palaeobiogeography and the Ordovician and Mesozoic-Cenozoic biotic radiations • Brachiopods:Cambrian - Tremadoc precursors to Ordovician radiation events • Early Ordovician rhynchonelliformean brachiopod biodiversity: comparing some platforms, margins and intra-oceanic sites around the Iapetus Ocean • Diversification and biogeography of bivalves during the Ordovician Period • Phylogeny of the Reedocalymeninae (Trilobita): Implications for Early Ordovician Biogeography of Gondwana • The spatial and temporal diversification of Early Palaeozoic vertebrates • Euconodont diversity changes in a cooling and closing Iapetus Ocean • The role of pyroclastic volcanism in Ordovician diversification • The early evolution and palaeobiogeography of Mesozoic planktonic foraminifera • Opening of the Hispanic Corridor and Early Jurassic bivalve biodiversity • Cretaceous patterns of floristic change in the Antarctic Peninsula • Cenozoic palaeogeography and the rise of modern biodiversity patterns • Palaeontological databases for palaeobiogeography, palaeoecology and biodiversity: a question of scale • Integrating the present and past records of climate, biodiversity and biogeography: implications for palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology.
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