Modelling the ecological–functional diversification of marine Metazoa on geological time scales
Andrew M. Bush1,* and Philip M. Novack-Gottshall2
1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Center for Integrative Geosciences, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Benedictine University, 5700 College Road, Lisle, IL 60532, USA
*Author for correspondence (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The ecological traits and functional capabilities of marine animals have changed significantly since their origin in the late Precambrian. These changes can be analysed quantitatively using multi-dimensional parameter spaces in which the ecological lifestyles of species are represented by particular combinations of parameter values. Here, we present models that describe the filling of this multi-dimensional ‘ecospace’ by ecological lifestyles during metazoan diversification. These models reflect varying assumptions about the processes that drove ecological diversification; they contrast diffusive expansion with driven expansion and niche conservatism with niche partitioning. Some models highlight the importance of interactions among organisms (ecosystem engineering and predator–prey escalation) in promoting new lifestyles or eliminating existing ones. These models reflect processes that were not mutually exclusive; rigorous analyses will continue to reveal their applicability to episodes in metazoan history.
ecospace utilization, diversification, Phanerozoic, functional diversity, macroevolution, Metazoa
One contribution of 12 to a Special Feature on ‘Models in palaeontology’.
Received June 23, 2011.
Accepted July 14, 2011.
This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society