Historical ecology and palaeoenvironmental analysis

A critical step to understanding community structure and species interactions in extant communities is determining how changes in ecological drivers influenced communities over long time scales. I look to address this issue by establishing modern ecological baselines that can be used to reconstruct historical trends. I have primarily focused on estuaries and coastal lagoons because the biota is ecologically conservative and the ecological drivers are conspicuous (i.e. salinity). My results have quantified frequency peaks for species and communities associated with specific ecological variables. As I generate more baseline results, I am combining these studies into a generalized model that can be used to develop highly detailed inferences for paleoecological drivers at regional scales.  Generating absolute values for physio-chemical conditions for fossil marginal marine systems may prove difficult (with bathymetric depth the possible exception), but quantifying conditions relative to open-ocean conditions I see as an achievable objective.


  • Topper, T.P., Strotz, L.C., Skovsted, C.B., and Holmer, L.E. (2017) Do brachiopods show substrate-related phenotypic variation? A case study from the Burgess Shale. Palaeontology 60: 269-279 [Full Text] [PDF]
  • Strotz, L.C. (2015) Spatial patterns and diversity of foraminifera from an intermittently closed and open lagoon: Smiths Lake, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 164: 340-352 [Full Text] [PDF]
  • Strotz, L.C. (2012) Foraminiferal Fauna and Biotopes of a Barrier Estuary System: St Georges Basin, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Foraminiferal Research, 42(4):369-382 [Full Text] [PDF]