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Rock records: when two are better than one

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A correlation exists between the quality of the rock record palaeontologists have to sample on land and the diversity of fossils recorded from that rock record. However, whether this arises as a direct effect of sampling bias or because a third factor (sea-level change) has driven both in parallel remains the subject of much debate. The rock record in the deep ocean basins has accumulated under a different set of biases to that on land and thus provides a simple way of testing the two competing hypotheses. By comparing the diversity of a widespread group of marine microplankton (coccolithophorids) recovered from land and deep-sea rock records it is possible to establish the strength of the rock record bias and to then discover the underlying biological signal common to both.

This talk is part of the Department of Earth Sciences Seminars (downtown) series.

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