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Tag: Philip D. Mannion

Phil’s research focuses on two main aspects of palaeontology: understanding the evolution and relationships of the giant, herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs, and examining the impact of environmental variables (including climatic changes and the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs) on the diversity and distribution of vertebrates over the past 220 million years. After gaining his undergraduate degree in Earth sciences at the University of Liverpool, UK, he completed a PhD on diversity patterns in sauropod dinosaurs at University College London. Currently, he is a research fellow at Imperial College London, where he is working on a number of projects including examining patterns of survival and extinction selectivity in vertebrates across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary.

Contact Details:

Dr Philip D. Mannion, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UK.

Patterns in Palaeontology: The latitudinal biodiversity gradient

Patterns in Palaeontology
by Philip D. Mannion*1 Introduction: Today, most living species are found in the tropics, the region of the Earth that surrounds the Equator. Species numbers, a measure of biodiversity, decline towards both the North and South poles (Fig. 1). This is known as the latitudinal biodiversity gradient (LBG), and it is the dominant ecological pattern on Earth today. Although there are exceptions to the rule, including high-latitude peaks in diversity of many marine or coastal vertebrates (including seals and albatrosses), the LBG describes the distribution of species diversity for the vast majority of animals and plants, both on land and in the sea, and in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Understanding the causes and evolution of the LBG helps researchers to explain present-day geograp...