Application of modern hypsometric relationships to former continental blocks allows calculation of the shallow sea area around each block for any given sea level. Using Hallam's (1984) sea level curve for the post-Triassic, shallow sea area curves have been drawn for each continental block, and a global curve of shallow sea area with time produced. As the response of a block to sea level change depends upon the size of the block, the cumulative curve does not vary in a straightforward manner with respect to sea level. Predictions of organic diversity change with sea level change must take account of this non-linear relationship.

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