Palaeogeography and Palaeobiogeography: Biodiversity in Space and Time

Paul Upchurch (Editor) Alistair J. McGowan (Editor)
& 1 more


Biogeography represents one of the most complex and challenging aspects of macroevolutionary research, requiring input from both the earth and life sciences. Palaeogeographic reconstruction is frequently carried out by researchers with backgrounds in geology and palaeontology, who are less likely to be familiar with the latest biogeographic techniques: conversely, biogeographic methods are often devised by neontologists who may be less familiar with the fossil record, stratigraphy, and palaeogeography. Palaeogeography and Palaeobiogeography: Biodiversity in Space and Time bridges the gap between these two communities of researchers, who work on the same issues but typically use different types of data.

The book covers a range of topics, and reflects some of the major overall questions in the field such as:

  • Which approaches are best suited to reconstructing biogeographic histories under a range of circumstances?
  • How do we maximize the use of organismal and earth sciences data to improve our understanding of events in earth history?
  • How well do analytical techniques devised for researching the biogeography of extant organisms perform in the fossil record?
  • Can alternative biodiversity metrics, particularly those based on morphological measurements, enhance our understanding of biogeographic patterns and processes?

This book approaches palaeobiogeography with coverage of technological applications and detailed case studies. It spans a wide selection of overlapping and integrative disciplines, including evolutionary theory, vicariance biogeography, extinctions, and the philosophical aspects of palaeogeography. It also highlights new technological innovations and applications for research. Presenting a unique discussion of both palaeogeography and palaeobiogeography in one volume, this book focuses both historically and philosophically on the interface between geology, climate, and organismal distribution.


Product Details

CRC Press
Publish Date
October 14, 2016
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About the Author

Dr. Paul Upchurch is Reader in Palaeobiology at the Department of Earth Sciences, UCL. Having obtained a Ph.D. in vertebrate palaeontology from Cambridge in 1994, he used a series of fellowships from Sidney Sussex College (Cambridge), The Leverhulme Trust, and the NERC to develop his interest in historical biogeography. In particular, he has focused on the role that fossils can play in providing information on the timing and nature of biogeographic events such as vicariance and dispersal. Dr. Upchurch joined UCL in 2003 and has subsequently carried out research on dinosaur evolution, particularly with regard to their phylogenetic relationships and diversity patterns. At present he is working on a different, but related, aspect of deep time spatial distributions: latitudinal biodiversity gradients amongst terrestrial animals during the Cretaceous Period. Dr. Alistair J. McGowan, FGS is currently based in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Postdoctoral Fellowship co-funded by Marie Curie Actions. He commenced his academic career as a geologist upon graduating from the University of Glasgow in Geology and Applied Geology in 1994. After three years of assorted jobs, including rebuilding a wooden boat in the most remote peninsula on mainland Scotland, mountain footpath construction, and streetsweeping, he returned to academia in 1997 to study for a M.Sc. in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol, where his interests in quantitative palaeobiology were able to develop. This led to five years in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, where he completed his Ph.D. in 2003. Hence, although he is 39, he is only 34 in UK postdoc years. After a short spell at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, he returned to the UK to work with Paul Upchurch at UCL on a biogeographic simulation project as a research associate. This formative period cemented his interest exploring biodiversity in all four dimensions. He is also a Fellow of the British Trust for Ornithology and his voluntary work on bird surveys has been important in developing his ideas about sampling problems and biases in the fossil record, as well as straddling the divide between ecological and historical biogeography. Dr. Claire S. C. Slater completed her undergraduate studies in natural sciences, specializing into geological sciences, in 2002 at the University of Cambridge. She completed a M.Sc. at the Natural History Museum and Imperial College in London. She then returned to Trinity College, University of Cambridge, to commence her Ph.D. in 2003. It was during her Ph.D. that she had the great pleasure of being involved with co-organising (with Alistair J. McGowan and Paul Upchurch) the conference from which this book stemmed. She is currently pursuing a career in law but retains an enduring interest in palaeontology, biogeography, and the sciences.