Breathtaking in scope, this is the first survey of the entireecological history of life on land—from the earliest tracesof terrestrial organisms over 400 million years ago to thebeginning of human agriculture. By providing myriad insightsinto the unique ecological information contained in thefossil record, it establishes a new and ambitious basis forthe study of evolutionary paleoecology of land ecosystems.A joint undertaking of the Evolution of TerrestrialEcosystems Consortium at the National Museum of NaturalHistory, Smithsonian Institution, and twenty-six additionalresearchers, this book begins with four chapters that lay outthe theoretical background and methodology of the science ofevolutionary paleoecology. Included are a comprehensivereview of the taphonomy and paleoenvironmental settings offossil deposits as well as guidelines for developingecological characterizations of extinct organisms and thecommunities in which they lived. The remaining threechapters treat the history of terrestrial ecosystems throughgeological time, emphasizing how ecological interactions havechanged, the rate and tempo of ecosystem change, the role ofexogenous "forcing factors" in generating ecological change,and the effect of ecological factors on the evolution ofbiological diversity.The six principal authors of this volume are all associatedwith the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems program at theNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
Science-Math, Earth-Sciences, Geology,