Phanerozoic Sea-level Changes


Author: Anthony Hallam
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231074254
Category: Science
Page: 266
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Amid widespread international concern over changes in ocean levels resulting from the greenhouse effect, Anthony Hallam's Phanerozoic Sea-Level Changes is the first book exclusively dedicated to sea-level change in the Phanerozoic Eon, the time ranging from 590 million years ago to the present.

The Eocene-Oligocene Transition

Paradise Lost
Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231080910
Category: Science
Page: 291
View: 9114

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Describes the Eocene-Oligocene extinctions, an important turning-point in Earth history approximately 40 million years ago, when the first signs of Antarctic glaciation appeared. The text relates how, during a period of global cooling, the planet's climate and vegetation changed dramatically.

Deep-time Perspectives on Climate Change

Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies
Author: Mark Williams
Publisher: Geological Society of London
ISBN: 9781862392403
Category: Science
Page: 589
View: 8691

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This book unites climate modelling, palaeoceanography and palaeontology to address fundamental events in the climate history of Earth over the past 600 million years. Understanding the 'tipping points' that have lead to rapid changes in the Earth's climate is vitally important with the realization that humans modify global climate. In an effort to better understand past and future climate change, general circulation models have become the forerunners of attempts to simulate future climate. The central message of the book is that general circulation models tested with geological data in an iterative 'ground truth' process provide the best estimates of the Earth's ancient climate.

When the Invasion of Land Failed

The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions
Author: George R. McGhee Jr.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231536364
Category: Science
Page: 336
View: 1545

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The invasion of land by ocean-dwelling plants and animals was one of the most revolutionary events in the evolution of life on Earth, yet the animal invasion almost failed—twice—because of the twin mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Epoch. Some 359 to 375 million years ago, these catastrophic events dealt our ancestors a blow that almost drove them back into the sea. If those extinctions had been just a bit more severe, spiders and insects—instead of vertebrates—might have become the ecologically dominant forms of animal life on land. This book examines the profound evolutionary consequences of the Late Devonian extinctions and the various theories proposed to explain their occurrence. Only one group of four-limbed vertebrates exists on Earth, while other tetrapod-like fishes are extinct. This gap is why the idea of "fish with feet" seems so peculiar to us, yet such animals were once a vital part of our world, and if the Devonian extinctions had not happened, members of these species, like the famous Acanthostega and Ichthyostega, might have continued to live in our rivers and lakes. Synthesizing decades of research and including a wealth of new discoveries, this accessible, comprehensive text explores the causes of the Devonian extinctions, the reasons vertebrates were so severely affected, and the potential evolution of the modern world if the extinctions had never taken place.

One Long Experiment

Scale and Process in Earth History
Author: Ronald E. Martin
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231109048
Category: Science
Page: 262
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Representative works are interpreted in light of the two great political movements of the nineteenth century: the abolition of slavery and the women's rights movement. By reexamining Emerson, Poe, Melville, Douglass, Walt Whitman, Chopin, and Faulkner and others, Rowe assesses the degree to which major writers' attitudes toward race, class, and gender contribute to specific political reforms in nineteenth and twentieth-century American culture.

The Late Devonian Mass Extinction

The Frasnian/Famennian Crisis
Author: George R. McGhee
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231075053
Category: History
Page: 303
View: 1623

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Why are living things alive? As a theoretical biologist, Robert Rosen saw this as the most fundamental of all questions-and yet it had never been answered satisfactorily by science. The answers to this question would allow humanity to make an enormous leap forward in our understanding of the principles at work in our world. For centuries, it was believed that the only scientific approach to the question "What is life?" must proceed from the Cartesian metaphor (organism as machine). Classical approaches in science, which also borrow heavily from Newtonian mechanics, are based on a process called "reductionism." The thinking was that we can better learn about an intricate, complicated system (like an organism) if we take it apart, study the components, and then reconstruct the system-thereby gaining an understanding of the whole. However, Rosen argues that reductionism does not work in biology and ignores the complexity of organisms. Life Itself, a landmark work, represents the scientific and intellectual journey that led Rosen to question reductionism and develop new scientific approaches to understanding the nature of life. Ultimately, Rosen proposes an answer to the original question about the causal basis of life in organisms. He asserts that renouncing the mechanistic and reductionistic paradigm does not mean abandoning science. Instead, Rosen offers an alternate paradigm for science that takes into account the relational impacts of organization in natural systems and is based on organized matter rather than on particulate matter alone. Central to Rosen's work is the idea of a "complex system," defined as any system that cannot be fully understood by reducing it to its parts. In this sense, complexity refers to the causal impact of organization on the system as a whole. Since both the atom and the organism can be seen to fit that description, Rosen asserts that complex organization is a general feature not just of the biosphere on Earth-but of the universe itself.

The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event


Author: B. D. Webby
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231126786
Category: Science
Page: 484
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Two of the greatest evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth occurred during Early Paleozoic time. The first was the Cambrian explosion of skeletonized marine animals about 540 million years ago. The second was the "Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event," which is the focus of this book. This is the first book devoted specifically to establishing the global patterns of differentiation of Ordovician biotas through time and space. It provides extensive genus- and species-level diversity data for the many Ordovician fossil groups and presents an evaluation of how each group diversified, with assessments of patterns of change, and rates of origination and extinction.

The Northern Adriatic Ecosystem

Deep Time in a Shallow Sea
Author: Frank Kenneth McKinney
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231132428
Category: Science
Page: 299
View: 6143

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The northern Adriatic Sea is transient, most recently flooded between 18,000 to 6,000 years ago following the last glacial maximum, and it will drain again with the onset of the next glacial period. Despite its youth, uniformly shallow depth, and flat sediment floor, it hosts a broad range of bottom-dwelling sea life ecologically resembling communities that have existed in the shallow sea since the Ordovician Period, some 500 million years ago. The northern Adriatic is a natural laboratory in which to test hypotheses concerning the shift from the Paleozoic prevalence of stationary suspension-feeders living on the surface of the sediment and feeding from the overlying waters to, more recently, bottom-dwelling animals living dominantly in or actively seeking temporary refuge within the sediments of the sea floor, regardless of where they feed. Across the northern Adriatic Sea there is an ecological gradient from Paleozoic-style surface-dwelling communities in the east to "modern" communities living almost exclusively within the sediments in the west. Therefore, within the relatively small area of the northern Adriatic, there is an existing gradient similar to the profound ecological change from Paleozoic to more modern marine life. During the early twentieth century, life at the bottom of the Adriatic was systematically sampled from the east to the west coasts, revealing the most common animals and their distribution. In this book Frank K. McKinney combines these findings with more recent, local studies to understand better the ecological structure of the Adriatic's floor. Specifically, he uses the predation, sediment textures and deposition rates, currents, and nutrients of northern Adriatic bottom communities to evaluate hypotheses concerning the conditions that drove surface-dwelling animals to seek long-term refuge within sea floor sediment. Though the northern Adriatic has been well studied since the advent of the marine sciences, it is not widely known by paleontologists. With this volume, McKinney illuminates what this "living laboratory" can tell us about the evolution of multicellular life on Earth.

The Ecology of the Cambrian Radiation


Author: Andreĭ I͡Urʹevich Zhuravlev,Robert Riding
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231106139
Category: Science
Page: 525
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The Cambrian radiation was the explosive evolution of marine life that started 550,000,000 years ago. It ranks as one of the most important episodes in Earth history. This key event in the history of life on our planet changed the marine biosphere and its sedimentary environment forever, requiring a complex interplay of wide-ranging biologic and nonbiologic processes. The Ecology of the Cambrian Radiation offers a comprehensive and surprising picture of the Earth at that ancient time. The book contains contributions from thirty-three authors hailing from ten countries and will be of interest to paleontologists, geologists, biologists, and other researchers interested in the global Earth-life system.

Extinctions in the History of Life


Author: Paul D. Taylor
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139457972
Category: Science
Page: N.A
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Extinction is the ultimate fate of all biological species - over 99 percent of the species that have ever inhabited the Earth are now extinct. The long fossil record of life provides scientists with crucial information about when species became extinct, which species were most vulnerable to extinction, and what processes may have brought about extinctions in the geological past. Key aspects of extinctions in the history of life are here reviewed by six leading palaeontologists, providing a source text for geology and biology undergraduates as well as more advanced scholars. Topical issues such as the causes of mass extinctions and how animal and plant life has recovered from these cataclysmic events that have shaped biological evolution are dealt with. This helps us to view the biodiversity crisis in a broader context, and shows how large-scale extinctions have had profound and long-lasting effects on the Earth's biosphere.

Exceptional Fossil Preservation

A Unique View on the Evolution of Marine Life
Author: David J. Bottjer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231102542
Category: Science
Page: 403
View: 4988

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This photographically rich volume provides a synthetic overview of a wide sample of Lagerst?tten from marine environments reaching back in time to the Precambrian, more than 500 million years ago. These occurrences of exceptional fossil preservation are providing scientists with a new source of evidence to understand how life has evolved in the Earth's oceans.

The Geologic Time Scale 2012 2-Volume Set


Author: F. M. Gradstein,Gabi Ogg,Mark Schmitz
Publisher: Elsevier
ISBN: 0444594256
Category: Science
Page: 1176
View: 445

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The Geologic Time Scale 2012, winner of a 2012 PROSE Award Honorable Mention for Best Multi-volume Reference in Science from the Association of American Publishers, is the framework for deciphering the history of our planet Earth. The authors have been at the forefront of chronostratigraphic research and initiatives to create an international geologic time scale for many years, and the charts in this book present the most up-to-date, international standard, as ratified by the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences. This 2012 geologic time scale is an enhanced, improved and expanded version of the GTS2004, including chapters on planetary scales, the Cryogenian-Ediacaran periods/systems, a prehistory scale of human development, a survey of sequence stratigraphy, and an extensive compilation of stable-isotope chemostratigraphy. This book is an essential reference for all geoscientists, including researchers, students, and petroleum and mining professionals. The presentation is non-technical and illustrated with numerous colour charts, maps and photographs. The book also includes a detachable wall chart of the complete time scale for use as a handy reference in the office, laboratory or field. The most detailed international geologic time scale available that contextualizes information in one single reference for quick desktop access. Gives insights in the construction, strengths, and limitations of the geological time scale that greatly enhances its function and its utility. Aids understanding by combining with the mathematical and statistical methods to scaled composites of global succession of events. Meets the needs of a range of users at various points in the workflow (researchers extracting linear time from rock records, students recognizing the geologic stage by their content).

New Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences


Author: Committee on New Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences at the National Science Foundation,Board on Earth Sciences and Resources,Division on Earth and Life Studies,National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309219248
Category: Science
Page: 132
View: 9411

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The 2001 National Research Council (NRC) report Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science (BROES) described how basic research in the Earth sciences serves five national imperatives: (1) discovery, use, and conservation of natural resources; (2) characterization and mitigation of natural hazards; (3) geotechnical support of commercial and infrastructure development; (4) stewardship of the environment; and (5) terrestrial surveillance for global security and national defense. This perspective is even more pressing today, and will persist into the future, with ever-growing emphasis. Today's world-with headlines dominated by issues involving fossil fuel and water resources, earthquake and tsunami disasters claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damages, profound environmental changes associated with the evolving climate system, and nuclear weapons proliferation and testing-has many urgent societal issues that need to be informed by sound understanding of the Earth sciences. A national strategy to sustain basic research and training of expertise across the full spectrum of the Earth sciences is motivated by these national imperatives. New Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences identifies new and emerging research opportunities in the Earth sciences over the next decade, including surface and deep Earth processes and interdisciplinary research with fields such as ocean and atmospheric sciences, biology, engineering, computer science, and social and behavioral sciences. The report also identifies key instrumentation and facilities needed to support these new and emerging research opportunities. The report describes opportunities for increased cooperation in these new and emerging areas between EAR and other government agency programs, industry, and international programs, and suggests new ways that EAR can help train the next generation of Earth scientists, support young investigators, and increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the field.

Stratigraphic Paleobiology

Understanding the Distribution of Fossil Taxa in Time and Space
Author: Mark E. Patzkowsky,Steven M. Holland
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226649377
Category: Science
Page: 259
View: 507

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Whether the fossil record should be read at face value or whether it presents a distorted view of the history of life is an argument seemingly as old as many fossils themselves. In the late 1700s, Georges Cuvier argued for a literal interpretation, but in the early 1800s, Charles Lyell’s gradualist view of the earth’s history required a more nuanced interpretation of that same record. To this day, the tension between literal and interpretive readings lies at the heart of paleontological research, influencing the way scientists view extinction patterns and their causes, ecosystem persistence and turnover, and the pattern of morphologic change and mode of speciation. With Stratigraphic Paleobiology, Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland present a critical framework for assessing the fossil record, one based on a modern understanding of the principles of sediment accumulation. Patzkowsky and Holland argue that the distribution of fossil taxa in time and space is controlled not only by processes of ecology, evolution, and environmental change, but also by the stratigraphic processes that govern where and when sediment that might contain fossils is deposited and preserved. The authors explore the exciting possibilities of stratigraphic paleobiology, and along the way demonstrate its great potential to answer some of the most critical questions about the history of life: How and why do environmental niches change over time? What is the tempo and mode of evolutionary change and what processes drive this change? How has the diversity of life changed through time, and what processes control this change? And, finally, what is the tempo and mode of change in ecosystems over time?

Triassic Life on Land

The Great Transition
Author: Hans-Dieter Sues,Nicholas C. Fraser
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231509413
Category: Science
Page: 280
View: 564

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The Triassic period is generally viewed as the beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs. For paleontologists, however, it also marks the rise of the world's first modern land ecosystems. Over the past three decades, extensive, worldwide fieldwork has led to the discovery of many new species of Triassic animals and plants, suggesting that faunal and floral changes already began in the Middle Triassic and were more protracted than previously thought. The Late Triassic is a pivotal time in the evolution of life on land, with many of the major groups of present-day vertebrates and insects first appearing in the fossil record. This book provides the first detailed overview of life on land during the Triassic period for advanced students and researchers. Noted vertebrate paleontologists Hans-Dieter Sues and Nicholas C. Fraser also review the biotic changes of this period and their possible causes.

Interpreting Pre-Quaternary Climate from the Geologic Record


Author: Judith Totman Parrish
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231102070
Category: Science
Page: 338
View: 4906

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The earth's pre-Quaternary period--more than two million years ago--has been studied systematically only since the 1960's, when geologists started to take seriously the concept that the continents have changed position on the earth's surface. While previous books have dealt with climate models and paleoclimate, this is the first to offer a sustained exploration of the methods that are the foundation of any interpretation of earth processes.

Rare Earth

Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe
Author: Peter D. Ward,Donald Brownlee
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 0387218483
Category: Science
Page: 338
View: 4008

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What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.

Plants Invade the Land

Evolutionary and Environmental Perspectives
Author: Patricia G. Gensel,Dianne Edwards
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231111614
Category: Science
Page: 304
View: 2637

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What do we now know about the origins of plants on land, from an evolutionary and an environmental perspective? The essays in this collection present a synthesis of our present state of knowledge, integrating current information in paleobotany with physical, chemical, and geological data.

Principles of Paleoclimatology


Author: Thomas M. Cronin
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231503044
Category: Science
Page: 592
View: 9728

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Greenhouse gases, global warming, thinning ozone layers—understanding the Earth's climatic changes is one of today's most pressing international concerns. How fast has the climate changed? Where and why is it changing? What is the impact of climate change on our ecosystems, coastal regions, glaciers, forests, and lakes, and even on the evolution of our own species? This introduction to the rapidly emerging field of paleoclimatology explains the patterns and processes in the history of the Earth's climate to answer such essential questions. Using the geologic records of ocean and lake sediment, ice cores, corals, and other natural archives, Principles of Paleoclimatology describes the history of the Earth's climate—the ice age cycles, sea level changes, volcanic activity, changes in atmosphere and solar radiation—and the resulting, sometimes catastrophic, biotic responses. These paleoclimate records provide a baseline against which we can compare modern climate trends. Designed to give a fundamental background—including both history and methodology—to the discipline of paleoclimatology, this book is the first to advance our understanding of how climate change develops, how those changes are detected, and how the climate of the past can shape the climate of the future.