Author(s): Escarguel G, Fara E, Brayard A, Legendre S
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Abstract Over the last decades, the critical study of fossil diversity has led to significant advances in the knowledge of global macroevolutionary patterns of biodiversity. The deep-time history of life on Earth results from background originations and extinctions defining a steady-state, nonstationary equilibrium occasionally perturbed by biotic crises and "explosive" diversifications. More recently, a macroecological approach to the large-scale distribution of extant biodiversity offered new, stimulating perspectives on old theoretical questions and current practical problems in conservation biology. However, time and space are practically distinct, but functionally related dimensions of ecological systems. This calls for a spatially-integrated study of biodiversity dynamics at an evolutionary timescale. Indeed, the biosphere is a complex adaptive system whose study cannot be arbitrarily reduced to any single spatial- and/or temporal-scale level of resolution without a loss of content. From such an integrated perspective, a simple fact emerges: in a physically heterogeneous and ever-changing world, spatiotemporal variations in biodiversity are the rule-not the exception. Copyright © 2011 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
This article was published in C R Biol
and referenced in Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change