Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-7-2017


Body size is a trait under selection. Genetic drift, climate, diet quality, and biotic interactions all select upon body size at the population, species, and community levels. These factors can be important in the context of rapidly changing climate. One of the ways an animal can persist in its environment is through morphological adaptation in situ. Here, I investigate four questions relating to the evolution of body size: (1) what is the limit in body size change in response to climatic change; (2) how does body size influence the thermal tolerances of animals; (3) how does body size evolve over space and time; and (4) what are body size relationships between predators and their prey. I employ both the fossil and modern record, take both a macro- and micro- approach, and investigate both the terrestrial and marine realms. Overall, my dissertation demonstrates that species overwhelming evolve body size as a mechanism to persist in their environments.




paleoecology, macroecology, body size, biogeography

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Felisa A. Smith

Second Committee Member

Craig R. McClain

Third Committee Member

Gene Hunt

Fourth Committee Member

Seth D. Newsome