How predictable is nature? This question is central to ecology, regardless of whether the goal is to comprehend nature from an empirical perspective, to seek a more general theoretical understanding, or to provide practical insight into the management of natural systems. In the first part of this talk (Past) I introduce the PalEON project and discuss how millennial-scale hindcasts of the Northern US are being used to reconstruct presettlement conditions and validate terrestrial ecosystem models.
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Diet evolution is a major driver of differences in morphology, function and species richness across mammal lineages. My lab’s research focuses on understanding how ecological diversification in mammals is related to the evolution of phenotypic traits, in particular those used to locate, capture and consume prey. With over 1,300 species worldwide, bats are an ideal model system for this research; they are one of the most species-rich and ecologically diverse mammal orders.