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Our proposed working group will advance core goals of conservation paleobiology….Paleontological research will be critical to understand the extent and drivers of ecological novelty, placing modern patterns in a deep-time context.

The project is initiated by

Tim Staples

(University of Queensland)

John Pandolfi

(University of Queensland)

The workshop is implemented in PaleoSynthesis

“Human activities are not only increasing the rate that ecosystems change, but causing them to shift into previously unseen, ‘novel’ states. The fossil record makes clear that ecosystems are constantly changing from ecological, environmental and evolutionary drivers, and that every ecosystem was novel at some point in the past. Despite this, and decades of research in paleobiology, restoration ecology and global change biology, there is no consensus on how to define or measure ecological novelty in a repeatable, quantitative manner. We aim to leverage paleontological understanding of ecological change over time.”


  1. Converge on a single set of definitions and terminologies of ‘novelty’,
  2. Standardizing novelty across taxa and biomes,
  3. Scaling novelty from communities to ecosystems,
  4. Case study applications of developed novelty metrics.

Online meetings were held and a publication“A unifying framework for the measurement of ecological and environmental novelty”  is being revised for resubmission.