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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - Biogeography explained by palaeobiogeography: the present explained by the past

28th November 2016, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Dr Thomas Servais (French National Centre for Scientific Research, France)

Biogeography is a key property of virtually all organisms; their distributional ranges, mapped out on a mosaic of changing palaeogeography, have played important roles in modulating the diversity and evolution of life.

To understand modern biogeography, we need to look to the past. A common example to explain modern biogeography is the distribution of the elephants: the Indian Elephant and the African Elephant had the same ancestors, and palaeontological (fossil) records can trace back the history of the geographical distribution of this animal group.

The first (palaeo-)biogeographical patterns are recognized some 500 millions years ago. We focus on this period of time, the Early Palaeozoic, and explain how during the Cambrian Explosion, and in particular during the Great Ordovician Diversification Event first biogeographical patterns took place.

We also explain how these patterns help us to draw the geographical maps of ancient worlds, and how we produce new models of palaeogeographies.

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact for more information about this event.