A1: PATTERNS AND PROCESSES OF CENOZOIC DIVERSIFICATION: INTEGRATION OF PHYLOGENY AND PALEOCLIMATE CHANGE
Current patterns of biodiversity are largely the result of diversification processes during the Cenozoic, which were accompanied by fundamental changes in paleooceanography, paleogeography and atmospheric and oceanic chemistry. Combining molecular phylogenies with biogeographic, ecological, oceanographical and climatic data offers new insights into the factors shaping the distribution and evolution of species and provides a better understanding of species diversification.
Project group A1 investigates to which extent past climatic changes influenced species distributions and diversification, and identifies general links between climate change and species diversification. Furthermore, we will assess how climate influences phylogenesis in terrestrial, coastal, and pelagic regions, and to what extend species' ecological niches are phylogenetically conserved. These results will be compared with comprehensive data from the fossil record, using Coccolithophores as model organisms to study the diversity of marine phytoplankton in relation to climatic changes, focusing on the ecology and macroevolution of keystone species from the Atlantic and Mediterranean sea.
Another focal area is the development of new and innovative approaches to integrate phylogenetic and isotope geochemical data to better understand the long-term interactions among climate, earth surface processes, evolution, and biodiversity.