Conservation paleobiology

Conservation paleobiology is a new field of basic and applied research of paleontology that seeks to apply the knowledge of the geohistorical record to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services. [1] The discipline utilizes paleontological and geological data to develop and test models of how biotas respond to climate and other natural and anthropogenic environmental change.

Description of the discipline

The main strength of conservation paleobiology the availability of long term data on species, communities and ecosystems that exceeds the timeframe of direct human experience. [2][1] The discipline takes one of two approaches: near-time and deep-time.

Near-time conservation paleobiology

The near-time approach uses the Recent fossil record (the last few million years, but usually few thousands of years) to provide a long-term context to extant ecosystems dynamics. Is, in many cases, the only source of information on conditions previous to human impacts. [2][1]

Deep-time conservation paleobiology

The deep-time approach uses examples of species, communities and ecosystems responses to environmental changes on a longer geologic record, as an archive of natural ecological and evolutionary laboratory. [1] This approach provides examples to infer possible settings concerning climate warming, introduction of invasive species and decline in cultural eutrophication.


  1. ^ a b c d Conservation paleobiology Workshop 2012. Conservation Paleobiology. Opportunities for the Earth Sciences. Report to the Division of Earth Sciences, National Science Foundation. Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York.
  2. ^ a b Dietl, Gregory P.; Flessa, Karl W. (2011). "Conservation paleobiology: putting the dead to work". Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 26 (1): 30–37. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2010.09.010.

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