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Integrating the present and past records of climate, biodiversity and biogeography: implications for palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology

Paul J. Markwick
Paul J. Markwick
Robertson Research International Limited, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 ISA, UK (e-mail:
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January 01, 2002


A geographic information system (GIS) based, integrated dataset of Recent North American, European, southern African and Australian non-avian tetrapod faunas is used to examine the macroscale relationship between climate, biogeography and terrestrial taxonomic and functional species diversity (richness). The results support a modified form of the species-energy hypothesis, with the pattern of terrestrial biodiversity reflecting the manner in which species procure energy, rather than only the absolute amount of ‘available energy’. Area and history are also found to be important. Ectotherms show the simplest relationship with environmental variables (and strongest latitudinal diversity gradients), and endotherms the most complex. A strong linear relationship is found between the proportion of each fauna represented by ectotherms and temperature (mean annual temperature and coldest month mean temperature). This relationship is used in an experiment to retrodict the palaeotemperature for the Middle Eocene lagerstatten fauna from Messel, Germany. Results compare well with interpretations based on other climate proxies.

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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
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A. W. Owen
A. W. Owen
University of Glasgow, UK
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2002




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