Fish are the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet today, and the type and abundance of fish present in the marine ecosystem depends on the environmental conditions and food web processes in that area. Ichthyoliths - isolated microfossil fish teeth and shark scales - preserve a unique history of the abundance, community composition, and evolutionary history of fish. In this talk, I use ichthyoliths preserved in deep-sea sediments to explore how open-ocean fish and sharks respond to Cretaceous and Cenozoic global change, from mass extinctions to global climate events. I will discuss changes in fish production, community structure, and evolutionary processes and their interactions with environmental conditions, as well as share new findings of a major change in marine vertebrate community composition during the Early Miocene. Together these records demonstrate that fish can provide unique insights into the patterns of marine ecosystem evolution and sensitivity to global change.
Speaker: Elizabeth Sibert, Harvard University
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