About Seth Finnegan's Work
Amid growing concerns about the ecological impacts of human activities and climate change, there is more need than ever before to understand how species and ecosystems have responded to past environmental change. How did ecosystems function under different climate states? What factors were most important in determining which species went extinct and which survived? These questions can only be answered by studying the fossil record in its geological context. This record is extraordinarily rich but also extraordinarily complex: reading it properly requires integrating many disparate types of data in a sophisticated analytical framework. Research in my lab is focused on discerning patterns of biotic change in a variety of systems and at a variety of timescales, reconstructing environmental changes over these same timescales, and integrating paleobiological and paleoenvironmental data to quantitatively evaluate support for different causal models of the extinction process.