The integration of Geographic Information System (GIS) methodology within a phylogenetic and statistical framework provides a background against which to evaluate the relationship between biogeographic changes and evolution in the fossil record. A case study based on patterns in Middle and Late Devonian phyllocarids (Crustacea) illustrates the usefulness of this integrated approach. Using a combined approach enhances determination of rates of biodiversity change and the relationship between biogeographic and evolutionary changes. Because the interaction between speciation and extinction rates fundamentally determines biodiversity dynamics, and speciation and extinction rates are influenced by the geographic ranges of component taxa, the relationship between biogeography and evolution is important. Furthermore, GIS makes it possible to quantify paleobiogeographic ranges.
Phylogenetic biogeography resolved patterns of both vicariance and geodispersal and revealed that range expansions were more abundant than range contractions in Devonian phyllocarids. In addition, statistical tests on GIS-constrained species ranges and evolutionary-rate data revealed a relationship between increasing species' ranges and increases in both speciation and extinction rates. Extinction rate, however, increased more rapidly than speciation rate in the phyllocarids. The pattern of extinction rate increasing faster than speciation rate in the phyllocarids may illuminate aspects of the Late Devonian biodiversity crisis in particular, and protracted biodiversity crises in general.