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A Palaeontological view of the modern climate and biodiversity crisis

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Oscar Branson.

The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in the 6th Assessment stated that historical and palaeontological records show that climatic variability has high potential to affect biodiversity and human society and that “… global biodiversity crises [are] often triggered by rapid warming”. Often these records of change occur over millennia and are only studied regionally or at limited taxonomic levels in incomplete records. This is raising the question what the contribution of the geological record can be to answering questions on impacts and risks of climate change on natural systems. I will draw on examples of links between environmental change and biotic response in the fossil record, and highlight the power of our methodologies working with challenging records and our experience in combining climate and biological records. I will argue that, while we cannot say much about the risks of climate change in the coming decades, the fossil record has fundamental contributions to make via the analysis of ecosystem resilience and responses.

This talk is part of the Department of Earth Sciences Seminars (downtown) series.

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