I study how changes in the physical environment (such as climate change and mountain building) contribute to the evolution of mammal species and faunas at varying temporal and geographic scales. Field aspects of the work include collecting fossils from long stratigraphic sequences that can be well-dated by biostratigraphic, paleomagnetic, or radioisotopic techniques. Lab analyses utilize database and GIS systems to identify faunal changes through space and time; the faunal patterns are then compared with independently identified changes in the physical environment to test various evolutionary and biogeographic predictions.
Ongoing projects include:
1) Mapping the temporal and geographic occurrence of Miocene mammals in the United States under the auspices of the MIOMAP project. The goal is detailed comparison of the evolutionary and biogeographic patterns exhibited by Miocene mammals to tectonic and climatic events in the Montana-Wyoming Rockies, in order to determine how major environmental changes affected evolution and distribution of species.
2) Studying Pleistocene fossil mammals preserved in caves to understand biogeographic and morphologic changes that took place through glacial-interglacial cycles, which may help predict potential biotic effects of global warming. A new effort looks at cave and other Pleistocene faunas in California.
3) Understanding the effects of global climate change on mammalian communities and on such ecological metrics as biodiversity. Ongoing projects link paleontology with conservation biology.
Barnosky, A.D., M. A. Carrasco, and E. B. Davis. The impact of the species-area relationship on estimates of biodiversity. PLoS Biology 3(8):e266,1-6.
Barnosky, A. D., P.L. Koch, R. S. Feranec, S. L. Wing, and A. B. Shabel. 2004. Assessing the causes of Late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents. Science 306:70-75
Barnosky, A. D. (ed.) 2004. Biodiversity response to climate change in the middle Pleistocene. University of California Press, Berkeley, 386 pp.
Barnosky, A. D. 2004. Exceptional record of mid-Pleistocene vertebrates helps differentiate climatic from anthropogenic ecosystem perturbations. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences USA 101:9297-9302.
Barnosky, A.D., E.A. Hadly, and C.J. Bell. 2003. Mammalian response to global warming on varied temporal scales. Journal of Mammalogy 84(2):354-368.
Barnosky, A.D. and M.A. Carrasco. 2002. Effects of Oligo-Miocene global climate changes on mammalian species richness in the northwestern quarter of the USA. Evolutionary Ecology Research 4:811-841.
Barnosky, A.D., E.A. Hadly, B.A. Maurer, and M.I. Christie. 2001. Temperate terrestrial vertebrate faunas in North and South America: Interplay of ecology, evolution, and geography with biodiversity. Conservation Biology 15(3):658-674.