The spatial structure of Phanerozoic marine animal diversity

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Science  24 Apr 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6489, pp. 420-424
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay8309

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Across time, but also across space

Fossils, especially those from marine systems, have long been used to estimate changes in patterns of diversity over time. However, fossils are patchy in their occurrence, so such temporal estimates generally have not included variations due to space. Such a singular examination has the potential to simplify, or even misrepresent, patterns. Close et al. used a spatially explicit approach to measure diversity changes in marine fossils across time and space. They found that, like modern systems, diversity varies considerably across space, with reefs increasing diversity levels. Accounting for this spatial-environmental variation will shed new light on the study of diversity over time.

Science, this issue p. 420

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