Workshop A

Size and Growth in the Fossil Record - Quantitative Palaeobiology and its Impact

Haug J. T., Haug C., Baranov V.

Size differences between organisms are obvious in many evolutionary lineages, in all ecosystems, ecological functions, geographical regions, today as well as in the fossil record. Both inter- and intraspecific size clines are common. Most common are size differences due to different ontogenetic stages, starting with small-sized individuals growing during their development to the (usually) larger adult. Sexual dimorphism may manifest in different sizes of the sexes. Additionally, there is a strong phylogenetic pattern in size distribution in living organisms. Yet, despite ontogeny and phylogeny being most obvious drivers of the size clines, there are still numerous patterns in size often coupled to different environmental conditions. Besides the overall size differences, also the relative size of certain morphological structures may differ between organisms. Such differences often reflect functional morphological aspects, for example due to different life styles in earlier and later ontogenetic stages. As size changes during ontogeny, interpreting rate of change in fossils is often problematic, as growth can, normally, not be directly observed in fossils. Instead, their growth is inferred from total body size as well as from the degree of relative change of morphological structures and from other, qualitative, characters. This leads to a certain dependency and involves the risk of circular reasoning. In this workshop, we want to present examples from different groups of organisms and discuss how to deal with this problem respectively.

Workshop B

Paleodiversity analysis with the Paleobiology Database and the divDyn R Package

Raja Nussaïbah B., Kocsis A. T., Kiessling W.

This workshop will introduce the Paleobiology Database (PBDB; an online public database containing information on the spatiotemporal distribution and classification of over 1.5 million fossil occurrences. We will cover questions such as: What types of data are in the PBDB and how can you extract them? What is the structure of database and how can it be used to assess diversity in deep time? The workshop will also provide hands-on activities on analysing and visualising the PBDB data using the R statistical software. After a short introduction to R, we will explore the most common methods to calculate diversity dynamics using the R package divDyn. The workshop will include presentations, interactive Q&A and live coding sessions, and will run for the whole day (9 am – 3 pm). A basic knowledge of R is encouraged, but not required.