I am interested in the factors affecting and controlling species diversity at multiple scales across both space and time. Moreover, I am particularly interested in the effects of global climate change on species diversity and use the fossil record of mammals over the last 40,000 years to evaluate how current changes in global climate may affect diversity patterns in the future. Because it provides a useful way to compare modern species and communities to fossil species and communities, I focus on the similairites and differences in macroecological patterns across space and time.
I integrate paleontological and neontological tools to investigate the evolution of various biological systems through time and test hypotheses regarding the constraints and drivers of that evolution. My postdoctoral research focuses on the constraints and drivers of body size variation of terrestrial mammals at community and global scales.
I am interested in how mammal species and communities respond to the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss over the Quaternary. In particular, my current research focuses on changes in species morphology (body mass), resource use (diet) and associations within the community (potential species interactions) as response to the megafaunal extinction of the late Pleistocene and climatic shifts of the Holocene. Moreover, I am interested in comparing differences in species and community responses across different habitats as well as across time.
I’m currently studying Ediacaran and early Cambrian paleocommunities to identify how community structure and evolutionary trends responded to intervals of biotic turnover, evolutionary innovation, and environmental change. My interests include the development of the first metazoan ecosystems, which may be able to provide more insight into fundamental processes of macroecology and evolution, as well as the effect of ecosystem engineers on community structure and diversification. I am also interested in human impacts on macroecological and macroevolutionary processes and how these impacts compare to past events of ecological disruption and faunal turnover across metazoan evolution. I am also broadly interested of the role of feedback processes in the evolution of novelty.
My current research interests involve using functional diversity to analyze temporal and spatial mammalian paleocommunity structure and identifying environmental factors that cause change.
Quentin Smith Jr.
My current research interests involve understanding fossil food web networks, and how size-biased extinction and climate change affects network properties.