My MSci Research Project – Macroecological changes in offshore shelf seas

Today has been a good day, in the main because today was the day that I got my research project sorted out for next year… which of course presumes that I pass this year, but I am being positive!

So… what is it? well whilst there is no title as such, the project can be best summed up by the following “title”:

“Macroecological changes in offshore shelf sea ecosystems through the Jurassic to mid-Palaeogene and comparison to modern analogues.”

You’re probably wondering what that all means, and you wouldn’t be the only one, as I am only about 75% sure what i’ll be doing myself but I shall try to explain it to the best of my ability.

The research project is going to centre around the science of Macroecology (Brown, 1995) which is apparantly “relatively” underused in the world of palaeontology – what with palaeo being a very descriptive science. I’m going to be collecting data from the literature to produce a dataset for several different localities (eg: The Lias and the Oxford Clays) of different metrics (metrics being numerical measurements or data) such as body lengths or dentition (tooth morphology). This dataset will then be analysed to see what changes in the macroecology occur over the time interval being studied.

The hope is that this will show what effects the J/K. K/T and PETM extinction events have had on the ecology of these environments and this will be compared with modern analogues such as fishing depletion of the North Sea.

There will of course be various caveats to the research which will have to be explored such as Taphonomy (preservation of various fossil forms) and Life Cycle effects. There was a long list of the caveats during my meeting with Clive (supervisor) today but i’ll be damned if I can remember them all now….

Anywho, how’s that for a brief explanation of what i’ll be spending next year doing? eh? I’ll probably extend this tomorrow when I have time to re-think it. Until then, Ciao.

REFERENCES
BROWN, J. H. (1995), Macroecology, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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