Our new postdoc Tara Smiley and I have just published an update to the “Paleoecology: Methods” review I first wrote for the Encyclopedia of Life Science several years ago.  Check it out!

Smiley, T. M., and R. C. Terry. 2017. Palaeoecology: Methods. eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Here’s the abstract:

Paleoecology investigates the ecology of extinct organisms in relation to their environments and community assemblages. Major aims of paleoecology include the documentation of taxonomic occurrences and abundances across time and space and the reconstruction of species- to community-level ecological traits. Although methodologically similar to the techniques of neontological ecologists, the discipline is distinct for its deeper temporal perspective capturing long-term processes that shape Earth’s ecological patterns. The foundational components of paleoecological research are the study of taphonomy, or the processes by which organic remains become incorporated into the fossil record, and methods that standardise the sampling and counting of individuals and species. The development and integration of a diverse array of paleoecological methods and data have broadened the scope of paleoecology to gain insight into the processes shaping both ancient and modern communities and inform conservation strategies for ecosystems undergoing rapid anthropogenic-driven changes today.

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