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Putting the dead to work for conservation biology
Date:1/19/2011

from the insect research suggest that herbivory intensified during the PETM global warming episode.

"This finding provides insights into how the human-induced rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is likely to affect insect-plant interactions in the long run," the authors wrote, "which is difficult to predict from short-term studies that have highly species-specific responses."

Time-averaged information, as is captured in the geologic record, says Lane, allows us to sort out natural changes from those induced by human activities.

The dead can help us even in remote places like the Galapagos Islands.

Scientists have used the fossil pollen and plant record there to shows that at least six non-native or "doubtfully native" species were present before the arrival of humans. This baseline information, says Dietl, "is crucial to a current conservation priority in the Galapagos: the removal of invasive species."

An important role of geohistorical data is to provide access to a wider range of past environmental conditionsalternative worlds of every imaginable circumstance.

The past may lead to better conservation practices that are crucial for life, not death, on Earth.

The dead, it turns out, do tell tales.


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Contact: Maja Anderson
mma86@cornell.edu
607-273-6623
Paleontological Research Institution
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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