Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Palaeontological databases for palaeobiogeography, palaeoecology and biodiversity: a question of scale

Paul J. Markwick
Paul J. Markwick
Robertson Research International Limited. Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 1SA, UK (
Search for other works by this author on:
Richard Lupia
Richard Lupia
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 2401 Chautauqua Avenue, Norman OK 73072, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
January 01, 2002


Computerized databases provide an essential tool for investigating large-scale spatial and temporal palaeontological problems. Although advances in both software and hardware have made the logistics of building a database much easier, fundamental problems remain concerning the representation and qualification of the data. Data from the fossil record are highly heterogeneous. Databases must be designed to account for variations in scale (grain, resolution), inconsistency in the data, and potential errors (inaccuracy). These issues vary with the scope of the study (extent), the biological group, and the nature and scale-dependence of supplementary, non-biological datasets (e.g. climate and ocean parameters). With the application of desktop geographic information systems (GIS) to global Earth systems science, and the ability to efficiently integrate and query large, diverse datasets, the need to ensure robust qualification of data, especially scale, has become all the more essential. This chapter examines some of the issues involved, defines terminology and offers pragmatic solutions.

You do not currently have access to this article.
Don't already have an account? Register

Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Palaeobiogeography and Biodiversity Change: the Ordovician and Mesozoic–Cenozoic Radiations

J. A. Crame
J. A. Crame
British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
A. W. Owen
A. W. Owen
University of Glasgow, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2002




A comprehensive resource of eBooks for researchers in the Earth Sciences

This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

View Article Abstract & Purchase Options

For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.

Subscribe Now