<p>Projects revolve around understanding how large-scale changes in the environment affect evolution, biogeography, and biodiversity patterns of mammals. I use the fossil record as a natural laboratory to assess the ecological changes that will occur as a result of ongoing global change, particularly global warming. <p>Lab analyses include systematic and taxonomic studies of various small-mammal groups (predominantly rodents), as well as developing and analyzing large-scale paleontologic databases required to understand interactions between biota and physical-environmental changes (i.e. species distributions, climatic parameters, physiographic features). Field aspects of the work include collecting fossils from long stratigraphic sequences that can be well-dated by biostratigraphic, radioisotopic, or paleomagnetic techniques. <p> Ongoing projects include: <p>1. Biodiversity of mammals through time, with the goal of assessing the 'natural' baseline of mammalian diversity and how that already has been affected by human impacts, and how it is likely to be affected in the future. See the MIOMAP home page for an overview of what our lab is doing on this topic. <p>2. Collaborative work (with Liz Hadly and others) on California vertebrate biodiversity through time, particularly as regards effects of megafaunal extinction and global warming, <p>3. Collaborative work with South American colleagues and graduate students to better define the timing and causes of Quaternary megafaunal extinctions. <p>4. Assessing the impacts of global warming on the global ecosystem and seeking solutions to saving the three faces of nature that people commonly perceive: ecosystem services, particular species assemblages, and the idea of wilderness). (See the new book Heatstroke: Nature in the Age of Global Warming, Island Press).</p>
In the News
An international group of scientists has recommended that the fateful Trinity nuclear test on July 16, 1945, be considered the dawn of a new geological age dubbed the Anthropocene – an era in which humans increasingly shape the planet.
UC Berkeley’s Anthony Barnosky and his wife, Elizabeth Hadly, a palaeoecologist at Stanford University, are featured in Nature for their work on the 30-page statement, “Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century.”
UC Berkeley’s Tony Barnosky joined climate scientists this morning at a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to summarize a new report issued today focusing on the short-term effects of climate change and the need to monitor them closely.
UC Berkeley professor Tony Barnosky and 21 scientists from around the world argue inNature magazine that planet Earth is frighteningly close to a tipping point that would send the globe into a state that could spell disaster for humans. The new Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology is focused on recognizing the signs of impending doom so that we can stop short of the precipice.
One of the oldest lakes in the world, Clear Lake has deep sediments that contain a record of the climate and local plants and animals going back perhaps 500,000 years. UC Berkeley scientists are drilling cores from the lake sediments to explore this history and fine-tune models for predicting the fate of today’s flora and fauna in the face of global warming and pressure from a burgeoning human populations.
UC Berkeley biologists and graduate students delved into the fossil record to compare past animal extinctions — in particular the five “mass extinctions” that occurred within the past 540 million years — with today’s extinctions. They find that, while the rate of extinctions today is higher than during past mass extinctions, conservation efforts could help us avoid a sixth.
Many biologists warn that the planet's plants and animals are headed toward a mass extinction as a result of human-caused environmental damage, including global warming. A UC Berkeley/Penn State team has now analyzed the status of North American mammals, estimating that they may be one-fifth to one-half the way toward a mass extinction event like the "Big Five" the Earth has seen in the last 450 million years.