Archive for June, 2010

Corral reef diversity issue

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I have wondered about this corral reef diversity issue for quite awhile, and have come to the conclusion that there may be more going on here than meets the eye. On a recent trip to the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies I was amazed to learn that the only reason the mid-Cambrian fossils were preserved was that they currently lie in the “stress pressure shadow” of a massive carbonate reef. I have also recently seen Ediacarin fossils in Australia in place in the Flinders Ranges that are much more poorly represented in sandstones and thus more poorly represented in the geological record — no corral reefs at that time. I think preservation may have tinged the value of this study more than may be realized.

Tropical coral reefs as the evolutionary motors of marine diversity

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

“This study raises the possibility that it’s not just the tropics but tropical coral reefs in particular that are the evolutionary motors of marine diversity,” says David Jablonski, who researches the evolution of marine diversity at the University of Chicago.

John Alroy, who runs the Paleobiology Database at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, says, “We all know that the fossil record is incomplete, and it’s hard to do an analysis like this one without addressing that problem. But I think they did address those concerns fully, so the patterns are likely to be real.”