A pressing conservation challenge is understanding how organisms will be impacted by climate change. From the paleontological record, we know organisms have options when facing change: they can do nothing, move, or adapt. These responses shape an organism's niche (a foundational concept in biology) that is abiotically constrained, but modified by biotic interactions. The greatest disturbances in recent North American geologic history is the human mediated extinction of megafauna ~11,700 years B.P. and climate change following the last glacial period. We used the fossil record to address ecological questions concerning conservationists; our focus was on Canidae and humans. Species distribution modeling and body size analyses revealed changing guild interactions with humans. At the continental scale, range shifts were independent of climate, and guild cohesion decreased through time. Canids in our study coped with ecological challenges by changing their ranges and interspecific interactions, but not body size.
Pleistocene, Canidae, Quaternary, Body-size, Extinction
Level of Degree
UNM Biology Department
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Lyons, Sara K.
Pardi, Melissa. "A MULTIDIMENSIONAL INVESTIGATION OF THE NICHE: GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS, BODY SIZE, AND INTERSPECIFIC INTERACTIONS OF LATE QUATERNARY NORTH AMERICAN CANIDAE." (2016). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/biol_etds/126