Dr. Carrie L. Tyler
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
e-mail: carrie.tyler at unlv.edu
What a tangled web we weave. Well, when it comes to the climate crisis' impact on marine food webs, we apparently didn't know the half of it. That’s according to a new UNLV study which compared ancient and modern ocean ecosystems in a bid to understand how to make them healthier and more resilient.
Some scientists claim that food webs in the oceans have seen very little change over the last 540 million or so years. However, a team of UNLV researchers has revealed that some ancient food webs were actually very different from today.
The study, published in the latest edition of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, used fossils to rebuild four different marine food webs from the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth over 65 million years ago. The food webs were also compared to a reconstructed food web from a modern Jamaican reef. The result? The four ancient food webs varied greatly from one another, and the youngest one was not the most similar to today’s Jamaican coral reefs.
Continue reading the article here
Invasions Alter Late Ordovician Food Web Structure
Recent graduate students, Hannah Kempf and Ian Castro's research on the effects of biotic invasions on food web structure in shallow marine communities was published this week in Paleobiology.
Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.1017/pab.2020.26
Recent graduate student, Lyndsey Farrar's research was featured on the cover of PALAIOS.
Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2019.088
Dr. Tyler Receives National Science Foundation CAREER Grant to Study Ancient Invasion Dynamics
Biotic invasions can trigger ecosystem restructuring and alter energy transfer pathways. However, as data before invasion are rare, changes in community structure and functioning are difficult to quantify, and changes in structure and functioning remain poorly understood. The Cincinnati Series (USA) preserves a well-documented influx of species which will be used to construct five food web models of shallow marine paleocommunities from the Late Ordovician (Katian) before, during, and after the ‘Richmondian Invasion’ to test hypotheses determining the effects of biotic immigrations on ecosystem structure and functioning. As ocean temperatures continue to rise, polar communities are expected to undergo widespread invasions in the near future. As polar ecosystems are in many ways functionally analogous to Paleozoic ecosystems, a modern Antarctic marine food web model will also be constructed to provide insight into the consequences of anticipated immigrations and invasions expected to occur. These data will also provide crucial insights into the drivers of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, one of the most significant prolonged increases of marine diversity in Earth’s history.
Undergraduate Jenn Davis Selected as a Barret Dean's Scholar
Jenn Davis Awarded an Undergraduate Summer Scholarship
Jenn is reconstructing a marine food web from the Late Cretaceous of the western Tethys.
Lyndsey Farrar Awarded the Miami University Geology Graduate Student Research Award
Lyndsey is working on identifying and characterizing traces of biotic interactions on fossil echinoids.
Dr. Tyler's research was recently featured on the cover of PALAIOS.
Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2018.046
Hot off the Presses!
The latest version of Topics in Geobiology is out, edited by Dr. Tyler. Browse the book, or check out chapters written by Dr Tyler:
Tyler, C.L., Schneider, C.L., (Eds.) 2018. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, Springer Verlag, Cham.
Tyler, C.L., 2018. A conceptual map of conservation paleobiology: visualizing a discipline. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, C.L. Tyler and C.L. Schneider (Eds.), Springer Verlag, Cham, p227-254.
Tyler, C.L., Schneider, C.L., 2018. Conservation paleobiology: the need for a paleontological perspective. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, C.L. Tyler and C.L. Schneider (Eds.), Springer Verlag, Cham, p1-10.
To assess marine community response to environmental and anthropogenic change, we must understand spatial heterogeneity in present-day and preindustrial ecosystems. As previous studies predominantly utilize single higher taxa, here we evaluate the validity of using single taxa, such as mollusks, as surrogates for entire marine invertebrate communities and as paleontological proxies. Results suggests that single groups can serve as reliable community proxies, and that spatial fidelity of death assemblages is high. Therefore, integrated analyses of ecological and paleontological data utilizing surrogate taxa can quantify anthropogenic changes in marine ecosystems and advance our understanding of spatial and temporal aspects of biodiversity.
Dr. Tyler featured by Miami University's Office of the Advancement of Research and Scholarship
Read the article here
Predators often leave distinct marks on prey skeletons, including tooth marks, fractures, scars, and drill holes. Fossils that contain those distinct marks can be used to explore the role of predation over the span of millions of years. To date, research on the fossil record of predation has centered mainly on mollusks: snails, clams, and their relatives. The proposed project will expand the history of
predation beyond mollusks, and assess the impact of predation on sea urchins, sand dollars, and other echinoids.
Echinoids are a commercially important group of animals and a major food source for many marine predators. This project aims to develop a global reference system for identifying traces left by predators on echinoid prey, which is expected to stimulate echinoid research on both modern and ancient ecosystems. Once assembled, the database will then be used to study the impact of predators on the evolution of echinoids over the last 100 million years, during which, they have diversified and become a critical part of the marine biosphere.
Neontological museum collections in conjunction with the literature will be used to codify trace characteristics of various types of interactions (predation, parasitism, commensalism, etc.) that affect modern echinoids. The resultant database will include data on the identity/ecology of trace makers, identity/ecology/phylogeny of affected echinoids, and morphology, frequency, and distribution of traces. The database will then be used to explore the fossil record, and evaluate hypotheses regarding the relative evolutionary importance of select types of biotic interactions affecting the ecology and evolutionary history of echinoids.
Dr. Tyler's research featured in the Deep Sea News!
Take a look a the article "Celebrity Wax Sculptures for Snails"
Read the original paper published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom "The Utility of Wax Replicas as a Measure of Crab Attack Frequency in the Rocky Intertidal"