Marine metazoan modern mass extinction: improving predictions by integrating fossil, modern, and physiological data

Evolution, extinction, and dispersion are fundamental processes affecting marine biodiversity. Until recently, studies of extant marine systems focused mainly on evolution and dispersion, with extinction receiving less attention. Past extinction events have, however, shaped the evolutionary history of marine ecosystems, with ecological and evolutionary legacies still evident in modern seas. Current anthropogenic global changes increase extinction risk and pose a significant threat to marine ecosystems, which are critical for human use and sustenance. The evaluation of these threats and the likely responses of marine ecosystems requires a better understanding of evolutionary processes that affect marine ecosystems under global change. Here, we discuss how knowledge of (a) changes in biodiversity of ancient marine ecosystems to past extinctions events, (b) the patterns of sensitivity and biodiversity loss in modern marine taxa, and (c) the physiological mechanisms underpinning species’ sensitivity to global change can be exploited and integrated to advance our critical thinking in this area.

Calosi P., Putnam H. M., Twitchett R. J. & Vermandele F., in press. Marine metazoan modern mass extinction: improving predictions by integrating fossil, modern, and physiological data. Annual Reviews of Marine Science. Article (subscription required).

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