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Paleobiology & Biodiversity

ECTS : 3

This teaching unit is mutualized with the Master SP2G of the University of Bourgogne, Dijon. The courses are partly taught in Dijon.

Heads : Gilles Escarguel (UCBL) and Arnaud Brayard (Univ. Bourgogne)

Prerequisite : teaching units of the M1 PSP "Paléontologie & Evolution", "(Paléo)climatologie" and "Datations et corrélations" (or any equivalent in an other M1).

The overall goal of this 30-hour lecture is to integrate biogeographical and macroecological concepts and analytical tools into an Evolutionary Biology framework in order to critically assess and discuss biodiversity changes through time and space. Studied examples cover a large spectrum of marine and terrestrial taxa, focusing on three key-periods of the Phanerozoic Eon: the Permian/Triassic transition and Early Triassic post-crisis biotic recovery (255-245 Ma), the Paleogene Period (65-20 Ma), and the Present. In this context, three main thematic axes are developed:

  • Biogeography and macroecology: living beings are not, and never have been homogenously and uniformly distributed on Earth. What are the mechanisms controlling such heterogeneity and its evolution at different geographical and time scales?
  • Crises and biotic recoveries: the history of life is filled with numerous biological crises followed by biotic recoveries. What are the evolutionary mechanisms and underlying dynamics associated with such key-periods?
  • Numerical modeling & simulations: deep-time evolution and biodiversity changes cannot be directly experimented, making numerical modeling and simulations a unique complement to the classical, historical and observation-based abductive approach. From that point of view, what are the pros and cons, as well as merits and limits of such computerized approaches in the critical assessment of the relative influence of various parameters controlling the structure and evolution of complex biological and ecological systems?

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