Diversification is the summed process of extinction and speciation. Although we can, to some extent, estimate past evolutionary dynamics using inferred phylogenetic relationships among living organisms, extinction erases a lot of information. Like many of my colleagues, I aim to integrate information from both the fossil record and from extant organisms in order to reconstruct diversification and evolutionary history.
No man is an island. Likewise, no biological entity exists without both direct and indirect interactions with other such entities. Little is known about how biotic interactions affect evolutionary change in a natural setting. We use fossilized interactions among encrusting bryozoa to study the evolution of competitive overgrowth. The question that remains is whether biotic interactions alone suffice for driving lasting evolutionary change. Van Valen’s Red Queen remains elusive but this research hopes to catch a glimpse of the Red Queen in action.
Macro & microevoution
To link microevolutionary and ecological processes with macroevolutionary outcomes, I am developing bryozoans as the “Drosophila of macrorvolution”. Bryozoans have an amazing fossil record that allows us to track biotic interactions, fecundity, population density & phenotypic traits through time. They are common components of marine habitats and have been so for millions of years.
- Norwegian Research Council
- European Research Council