Title: Dead shells speak: detecting unsuspected ecosystem change on continental shelves
Speaker: Prof Susan Kidwell, Chicago
Prof Kidwell’s primary research interest is understanding the formation of fossil records. What controls the abundance of skeletal remains (e.g., shells and bones), how time-averaged (age-mixed) are these remains per assemblage, and how accurately is community composition and structure captured given that temporal resolution — to what extent is biological information skewed (biased) by inter-species differences in post-mortem durability and by out-of-habitat transport? Prof Kindell uses ship-based fieldwork, sample rescue (from wastewater agencies), meta-analysis, and modeling to assess how very young fossil records (especially dead remains that are only now accumulating on the seafloor or landscape) can be used to acquire baseline information from before the onset of human activities.
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