Research Fellows Directory
Dr Valentin Fischer
University of Oxford
Biodiversity is shaped by heritage, evolutionary processes and extinctions. Untangling the drivers behind these phenomena is thus crucial to assess how ecosystems might evolve in a changing world. However, these mechanisms are usually assessed with a narrow framework, lacking the time perspective from earth history or focussing on organisms occupying the lower levels of food chains. My Newton International Fellowship project at the University of Oxford aims to reveal the role of global changes in driving the fluctuations of biodiversity, using the record of marine backboned predators from the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago) as a model system.
I am developing new quantitative methodologies to reconstructing the evolution of their diversity and ecological niches and estimate their turnover rates (extinctions and originations) through time. Covariation between these variables and environmental drivers (sea level change, global temperature changes, carbon cycle) will be assessed statistically, helping to decipher what event(s) disrupted marine ecosystems in an era marked by strong climate change.