Sun, 28 August 2022
The gang discusses two papers that look at the ecological impacts of major extinction events. The first paper looks at the ecological stability of marine communities before and after two mass extinction events, the late Ordovician and the end Permian. The second paper simulates an extinction event on modern bird populations to determine if this would most strongly impact functional diversity or phylogenetic diversity. Meanwhile, Amanda learns about something new to worry about, James shares dubious life advice, and Curt questions movie curses.
Up-Goer Five (Amanda Edition):
Today our friends look at two papers about things dying. The first paper wants to know if having more things that do all the same stuff will help keep the world better when everything else is dying. They look at an early time and then a later time that everyone knows is very, very, very bad. The earlier time is thought to be the second-most bad time for taking out things that do different things. But the paper shows that since, in that earlier time, there are more things doing the same thing, it's actually not so bad as the later time, when there are not so many things doing the same thing. More things are doing different things, so that the dying is worse.
The second paper is looking at animals that fly and don't have hair or hard skin. This paper is saying that some animals that fly and don't have hair or hard skin are dying more. However, these animals are not like brothers and sisters to each other, instead, they look like each other. This paper finds that animals that fly that do not have hair or hard skins that live in some places will start to look like each other more and more because some of the animals die out. That means that the remaining animals that fly but do not have hair or hard skin will be more like each other, and it means that things in these places might get bad, because there will be only a few things left that do one or two things.
Dick, Daniel G., et al. "Does functional redundancy determine the ecological severity of a mass extinction event?." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289.1979 (2022): 20220440.
Hughes, Emma C., David P. Edwards, and Gavin H. Thomas. "The homogenization of avian morphological and phylogenetic diversity under the global extinction crisis." Current Biology (2022).