Erin E Saupe

Erin E Saupe
Yale University | YU · Department of Geology & Geophysics

PhD

About

81
Publications
44,201
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Introduction
I am a Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies Postdoctoral Fellow under the guidance of Dr. Derek Briggs. The goal of my research is to explore how life evolved on our dynamic planet, with emphasis on understanding how biogeographical processes impact macroevolution. I am specifically interested in elucidating the controls on species’ responses to environmental change, and I do so by integrating biological data with information obtained from the fossil record.
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - present
Yale University
Position
  • Institute for Biospheric Studies Postdoctoral Fellow
August 2009 - May 2014
University of Kansas
Position
  • PhD Graduate Student
August 2007 - December 2009
University of Kansas
Position
  • MSc Graduate Student

Publications

Publications (81)
Article
Geographic ranges are a fundamental unit of biogeography and macroecology. Increasingly, paleontologists and ecologists alike are reconstructing geographic ranges of species from fossils, in order to understand the long-term processes governing biogeographic and macroevolutionary patterns. As these reconstructions have become increasingly common, u...
Article
Animals originated in the oceans and evolved there for hundreds of millions of years before adapting to terrestrial environments. Today, oceans cover more than two-thirds of Earth and generate as much primary production as land. The path from the first macrobiota to modern marine biodiversity involved parallel increases in terrestrial nutrient inpu...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic activity is changing Earth's climate and ecosystems in ways that are potentially dangerous and disruptive to humans. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise, ensuring that these changes will be felt for centuries beyond 2100, the current benchmark for projection. Estimating the effects of past, current, and po...
Article
Full-text available
Planktonic foraminifera are a major constituent of ocean floor sediments, and thus have one of the most complete fossil records of any organism. Expeditions to sample these sediments have produced large amounts of spatiotemporal occurrence records throughout the Cenozoic, but no single source exists to house these data. We have therefore created a...
Article
Abiotic niche lability reduces extinction risk by allowing species to adapt to changing environmental conditions in situ. In contrast, species with static niches must keep pace with the velocity of climate change as they track suitable habitat. The rate and frequency of niche lability have been studied on human timescales (months to decades) and ge...
Article
The role of minerals in Burgess Shale–type fossilization is controversial, particularly that of the clay mineral kaolinite. Kaolinite may have formed on carcasses or attached to them as they decayed, stabilizing organic matter. Alternatively, kaolinite may have formed during metamorphism, playing no role in the preservation of soft tissues. Evaluat...
Chapter
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Article
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Geographic range size and abundance are important determinants of extinction risk in fossil and extant taxa. However, the relationship between these variables and extinction risk has not been tested extensively during evolutionarily “quiescent” times of low extinction and speciation in the fossil record. Here we examine the influence of geographic...
Preprint
Full-text available
Anthropogenic activity is changing Earth’s climate and ecosystems in ways that are potentially dangerous and disruptive to humans . Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise, ensuring these changes will be felt for centuries beyond 2100, the current benchmark for prediction emissions to only 2100 is therefore shortsighted. Cr...
Article
Full-text available
Analyses of morphological disparity have been used to characterize and investigate the evolution of variation in the anatomy, function and ecology of organisms since the 1980s. While a diversity of methods have been employed, it is unclear whether they provide equivalent insights. Here, we review the most commonly used approaches for characterizing...
Article
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Reconstructing ecological niche evolution can provide insight into the biogeography and diversification of evolving lineages. However, comparative phylogenetic methods may infer the history of ecological niche evolution inaccurately because (a) species' niches are often poorly characterized; and (b) phylogenetic comparative methods rely on niche su...
Article
Reconstructing geographic range sizes from fossil data is a crucial tool in paleoecology, shedding light on macroecological and macroevolutionary processes. Studies examining links between range size and extinction risk may also offer a predictive tool for identifying species most vulnerable in the ‘6th mass extinction’. However, the extent to whic...
Article
The decline in species richness from the equator to the poles is referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG). Higher equatorial diversity has been recognised for over 200 years, but the consistency of this pattern in deep time remains uncertain. Examination of spatial biodiversity patterns in the past across different global climate reg...
Article
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A striking feature of the marine fossil record is the variable intensity of extinction during superficially similar climate transitions. Here we combine climate models and species trait simulations to explore the degree to which differing palaeogeographic boundary conditions and differing magnitudes of cooling and glaciation can explain the relativ...
Conference Paper
Abiotic niche lability reduces extinction risk by allowing species to adapt to changing environmental conditions. In contrast, species with static niches must keep pace with the velocity of climate change as they track suitable habitat. The rate and frequency of niche lability have been studied on human timescales (months to decades) and geological...
Article
Full-text available
Fundamental ecological and evolutionary theories, such as community saturation and diversity-dependent diversification, assume that biotic competition restricts resource use, and thus limits realized niche breadth and geographic range size [1-3]. This principle is called competitive exclusion. The corollary (ecological release) posits that, after c...
Article
Palaeontologists often ask identical questions to those asked by ecologists. Despite this, ecology is considered a core discipline of conservation biology, while palaeontologists are rarely consulted in the protection of species, habitats and ecosystems. The recent emergence of conservation palaeobiology presents a big step towards better integrati...
Article
Full-text available
The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG), where the number of species increases from the poles to the Equator, ranks among the broadest and most notable biodiversity patterns on Earth. The pattern of species-rich tropics relative to species-poor temperate areas has been recognized for well over a century, but the generative mechanisms are still deb...
Article
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Beginning in 2012, the JRS Biodiversity Foundation funded the University of Kansas to carry out a series of courses covering the breadth of the field of biodiversity informatics in cities across Africa. The Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum (BITC) was created from these events that used in-person courses taught by world experts in biodiv...
Article
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Many higher level avian clades are restricted to Earth’s lower latitudes, leading to historical biogeographic reconstructions favoring a Gondwanan origin of crown birds and numerous deep subclades. However, several such “tropical-restricted” clades (TRCs) are represented by stem-lineage fossils well outside the ranges of their closest living relati...
Article
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In modern environmental and climate science it is necessary to assimilate observational datasets collected over decades with outputs from numerical models, to enable a full understanding of natural systems and their sensitivities. During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, numerical modelling became central to many areas of science from the B...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Tropical species are thought to experience and be adapted to narrow ranges of abiotic conditions. This idea has been invoked to explain a broad array of biological phenomena, including the latitudinal diversity gradient and differential rates of speciation and extinction. However, debate continues regarding the broad‐scale applicability of this...
Article
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Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is posited to be a fundamental control on the structure and dynamics of ecological networks, influencing organism resource use and rates of senescence. Differences in the maintenance energy requirements of individual species therefore potentially predict extinction likelihood. If validated, this would comprise an importan...
Presentation
Basal metabolic rate is posited to be a fundamental control on the structure and dynamics of ecological networks, influencing organism resource use and rates of senescence. Differences in the maintenance energy requirements of individual species therefore potentially predict extinction likelihood. If validated, this would comprise an important link...
Article
Oxygenic photosynthesis fundamentally transformed all major biogeochemical cycles and increased the size and complexity of Earth's biosphere. However, there is still debate about when this metabolism evolved. As oxygenic photosynthesis is the only significant source of O2 at Earth’s surface, O2-sensitive trace element enrichments and isotopic signa...
Article
Full-text available
Ecologists and paleontologists alike are increasingly using the fossil record as a spatial data set, in particular to study the dynamics and distribution of geographic range sizes among fossil taxa. However, no attempts have been made to establish how accurately range sizes and range-size dynamics can be preserved. Two fundamental questions are: Ca...
Article
Evolutionary dynamics of abiotic ecological niches across phylogenetic history can shed light on large-scale biogeographic patterns, macroevolutionary rate shifts, and the relative ability of lineages to respond to global change. An unresolved question is how best to represent and reconstruct evolution of these complex traits at coarse spatial scal...
Presentation
Full-text available
New opportunities to digitize museum collections have greatly facilitated research in macroevolution. Here we focus on some of the research applications of digitization efforts using collections from the University of Kansas and partners in two National Science Foundation Thematic Collections Network (TCN) grants, the Paleoniches and the Cretaceous...
Article
Exceptionally preserved organic fossils are commonly associated with clay-rich horizons or directly with clay minerals. It has been posited that interactions between clay minerals and organic tissues inhibit enzymatic reactions or protect carcasses in such a way that decay is impeded. However, interactions between clay minerals and the biological a...
Article
Full-text available
Blonder et al. (2014, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23, 595–609) introduced a new multivariate kernel density estimation (KDE) method to infer Hutchinsonian hypervolumes in the modelling of ecological niches. The authors argued that their KDE method matches or outperforms several methods for estimating hypervolume geometries and for conducting s...
Article
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We describe a spatially explicit simulation experiment de- signed to assess relative impacts of macroecological traits on patterns of biological diversification under changing environmental conditions. Using a simulation framework, we assessed impacts of species’ niche breadth (i.e., the range of their abiotic tolerances) and dispersal ability on r...
Article
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Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the 'problem of the problematica', particularly the 'weird wonders' of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new...
Article
The concept of the niche is fundamental to ecology and palaeoecology, and an extensive body of scientific literature exists on the subject Here we discuss how recent palaeontological studies, particularly those focusing on species' niche dynamics through time, continue to integrate palaeoecology with macroevolutionary theory.
Conference Paper
Body size is often considered the most important quantitative trait of an individual organism. This is because it can be directly correlated with multiple life-history traits, both physiological (e.g., metabolic rate) and fitness-related (e.g., generation time, fecundity). With body size encapsulating such a significant quantity of biological infor...
Conference Paper
Ecologists and paleontologists alike are increasingly using the fossil record as a spatial dataset, in particular to study the dynamics and distribution of geographic range sizes among fossil taxa. However, no attempts have yet been made to establish how accurately range sizes and range-size dynamics can be preserved in fossil locality data, and wh...
Article
AimDetermining which species are more prone to extinction is vital for conserving Earth's biodiversity and for providing insight into macroevolutionary processes. This paper utilizes the Pliocene to Recent fossil record of mollusks to identify determinants of species' extinction over the past three million years of Earth history.LocationWestern Atl...
Article
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ABSTRACT: Abundance and other aspects of population ecology have long been known to contribute to shaping the geography of speciesí distributions. In particular, abundance patterns have recently been shown to negatively correlate with environmental distance from conditions in the center of a speciesí abiotic niche, rather than vary with distance fr...
Article
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The vigor and relevance of contemporary paleontological research were demonstrated at the 4th International Palaeontological Congress (IPC4), held in e city of Mendoza, Argentina from September 28 to October 3, 2014. The research presented at IPC4 was highly diverse in its topical, organismal, geographical, and temporal coverage. The workshops, sym...
Article
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Background Understanding the evolutionary history of morphologically cryptic species complexes is difficult, and made even more challenging when geographic distributions have been modified by human-mediated dispersal. This situation is common in the Mediterranean Basin where, aside from the environmental heterogeneity of the region, protracted huma...
Article
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In order to predict the fate of biodiversity in a rapidly changing world, we must first understand how species adapt to new environmental conditions. The long-term evolutionary dynamics of species' physiological tolerances to differing climatic regimes remain obscure. Here, we unite palaeontological and neontological data to analyse whether species...
Article
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Many modern paleobiological analyses are conducted at the generic level, a practice predicated on the validity of genera as meaningful proxies for species. Uncritical application of genera in such analyses, however, has led—perhaps inadvertently—to the unjustified reification of genera in an evolutionary context. While the utility of genera as prox...
Article
AimNumerous studies have examined potential responses of terrestrial biotas to future climate change, but fewer have considered marine realms. We forecast how marine molluscan faunas might respond to environmental change over the remainder of this century. We test the hypotheses that suitable areas will shift northwards for studied species, and tha...
Article
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This contribution examines the Modern Synthesis in the light of its historical underpinnings, attempts at expansion and treatment of macroevolutionary theory. Particular emphasis is given to the need to better understand the patterns and processes operating on species and higher-level biological entities within a hierarchical framework, as they are...
Conference Paper
Determining the impacts of environmental change on evolutionary processes is fundamental to understanding large-scale patterns of evolution, as well as to predicting how future climate change will impact Earth’s biodiversity. One question of particular interest is whether species’ environmental tolerances, or niches, evolve in response to a fluctua...
Article
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Four new species belonging to the enigmatic fossil spider family Lagonomegopidae Eskov & Wunderlich, 1995 are described from Albian Spanish amber. Two new genera are created: Spinomegops gen. nov., based on two specimens described as S. arcanus sp. nov. from Álava amber (Peñacerrada I outcrop, Burgos), and S. aragonensis sp. nov. from San Just ambe...
Article
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Ecological niche models and species distribution models are becoming important elements in the toolkit of biogeographers and ecologists. Although burgeoning in use, much variation exists in implementation of these techniques, leading to considerable diversity of methodology and discussion of what is the ‘best’ approach. In this analysis, we explore...
Article
Full-text available
Two new species of Orchestina (Araneae: Oonopidae) are described as O. gappi sp. nov. and O. rabagensis sp. nov. from the Cretaceous of France and Spain, respectively. Two additional specimens from Spain are placed within Orchestina but not assigned to species. These formal descriptions are the oldest for the genus and the family Oonopidae. The dis...
Article
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Most spiders use venom to paralyze their prey and are commonly feared for their potential to cause injury to humans. In North America, one species in particular, Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider, Sicariidae), causes the majority of necrotic wounds induced by the Araneae. However, its distributional limitations are poorly understood and, as...
Article
The definition of what constitutes a species has been an area of contention in biology since before the time of Darwin. Here, we discuss concepts of species in regards to the Araneae and particularly focus on diagnosing fossils. Spiders are primarily diagnosed by their copulatory organs, which may be difficult to observe in fossils due to a number...