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PATTERNS OF DIVERSITY - species diversity from the origin...

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PATTERNS OF DIVERSITY To appreciate the temporal scale of the phenomena that we will discuss, we should review the geologic time scale and the major eras (Paleozoic, Mesosoic, Cenozoic) and periods (Cam Or Sil Dev Car Per Tri Jur Cre Ter Quat) and epochs (Pal Eo Oli Mio Plio Pleisto Holo). The point here is that there has been immense amounts of time in earth history (recall our 15 second moment of silence in class as one frame of reference). Each of these geologic time periods is defined on sedimentary evidence, much of which is comprised of fossils characteristic of each time period. On ridiculously simple terms, there has been a dramatic increase in
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Unformatted text preview: species diversity from the origin of life to the present. But the patterns of species diversity are much more complex when viewed in the fossil record. There are periods of rapid increase in diversity, periods of rapid loss of diversity (mass extinction events) and subsequent periods of increased diversity. These patterns beg a variety of questions about the dynamics of the history of species diversity and what forces might regulate this diversity: are there equilibria of diversity?, does diversity increase without limit?, are the patterns of diversity random patterns?...
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