This is one of my all-time favourite paleobiology books, and an invaluable resource. Although it only deals with terrestrial ecosystems it does so in a very all-enclusive way. For the indepth scholar and armnchair enthusiast of Earth History I can certainly recommend it. I only wish there were more books like this
From the back cover:
Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrrrestrial Plants and Animals presents an ambitious new approach to the historv of life on land, from the earliest traces of terrestrial organisms over 410 million years a go to the beginning of human agriculture. By stressing how the "ecological theater" of evolution changed through geo- logical time, this landmark book provides access to a wealth of unique and thought-provoking ecological information contained in the fossil record. A joint undertaking of the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Consortium at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and twenty-six additional researchers, the book begins by laying out the theoretical background and methodology of evolutionary paleoccology. Included are a comprehensive review of the taphonomy and palcoenvironmental settings of fossil deposits and guidelines for developing ecological characterizations of extinct organisms and communities. The authors then treat the history of terrestrial ecosystems through time, emphasizing the tempo of ecosystem change, the role of exogenous forcing factors" in generating ecological change, and the effect of ecological setting on major radiations of land organisms. A central theme is that understanding the patterns that occur in associ- ations of fossil land plants and animals is essential to a broader macro-synthesis. and microevolutionary Despite short-term fluctuations, many terrestrial fossil-bearing sequences record ecological stasis over millions of years. When climatic or other environmental perturb3tions termi- nate periods of stasis, ecological reorganization cannot be predicted; new dominants arise and former ones become subordinate or extinct. The book also offers a unique view of the impact of Homo sapiens from the perspective of 300 million years of relative stability in the basic structure of land ecosystems.
Anna K. Behrensmeyer, William A. DiMichele, and Scott L. Wing are research curators in the Department of Paleobiology, and Richard Potts is research curator in the Department of Anthropology, at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. John D. Damuth is research biologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Universitv of California at Santa Barbara and research associate in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Hans-Dieter Sues is associate curator in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
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The ETE Consortium. The Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Consortium The ETE Consortium was established in 1988 by a group of professional paleontologists associated with the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems which they had initiated the year before at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. These researchers shared common interests and perspectives in the study of terrestrial paleoecology, and felt a coordinated effort to investigate long-term patterns in the history of terrestrial biotas and paleocommunities was overdue. Such an approach is needed to augment the traditional foci of paleobiology -- species-level adaptations and phylogenetic relationships -- in order to address questions about coevolution, the relationship of environmental factors to evolutionary change, the nature of ecological associations and the factors that influence their stability or transformation, and the effects of major global environmental changes on the Earth's biota. The ETE Consortium oversees all aspects of the ETE Database, a computerized database for research in evolutionary paleoecology.
Terrestrial Ecosystems Through Time : Evolutionary Paleoecology of Terrestrial Plants and Animals, by Anna K. Behrensmeyer, John D. Damuth, William A. Dimichele, and Hans-Dieter Sues - Paperback - Hardcover