Extremely diverse fossil floras from the Cretaceous and Paleogene of Patagonia, Argentina: Implications for the origins of high plant and insect diversity and for paleoclimates in South America
CALS Impact Statement
It is well known that, while the disintegration of Gondwanaland started during the Mesozoic, the Cenozoic was a period of significant geologic activity. Major geological events affected the climate of Antarctica and South America in general and therefore affected the distribution and migration of the biota. In this project, my colleagues and I are re-analyzing data gathered from palynology and megafossils in the light of the new evidence with the goal of understanding how changes in the climate are reflected in the paleoflora.
During the last decade, our interest in understanding climatic changes has increased notably, mostly concerning the effects of global warming. To really understand the impact of global warming, however, we need to look at climate changes throughout Earth`s history. My research is directed toward understanding the biota changes in the Southern Hemisphere due to fluctuating climate. This project is of general interest because it will help to determine habitat changes and biota turnover.
We are in the initial phases of the project. We are working on the descriptions of the biota and processing paleoclimate and paleomagnetic data. So far, we have produced three papers on the topic and presented preliminary results at scientific meetings.
This project is considered basic research, therefore it is difficult to evalute its direct impact on society. When the project is completed we hope to have a comprehensive idea of how the distribution of the biota in the Southern Hemisphere have change through millions of years,and the information obtanied from it will be used to extrapolate to modern time.
funding source description
National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET, Argentina).