Macroevolutionary dynamics and community structure

Many of my research projects center on determining the relative importance of evolutionary processes versus ecological factors as drivers of community structure. To answer this question, I am working to identify the possibility of coordinated stasis in fossil communities, make inferences about the ecological requirements of a species and identifying what hierarchical patterns exist in ecological networks. Investigations of body size have become a key component of this research because body size is a proxy for a swathe of functional life history traits and thus provides a simple metric for assessing the dynamics of ecological networks and phenotypic response of communities to environmental change. Examples of specific studies I have undertaken in this area include identifying the importance of population subdivision as a driver of community diversity, assessing how extinction risk is connected to the energetic requirements of a species and quantifying the relative import of biotic interactions as a mechanism for evolutionary change.


  • Strotz, L.C. and Lieberman, B.S. (2021) The names don’t matter but the numbers do: searching for stability in Carboniferous brachiopod paleocommunities from the North American Midcontinent. Paleobiology 47: 68-85 [Full Text] [PDF]
  • Strotz, L.C., Saupe, E.E., Kimmig, J., and Lieberman, B.S. (2018) Metabolic rates, climate and macroevolution: A case study using Neogene molluscs. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 285: 20181292 [Full Text] [PDF]
  • Strotz, L.C., Simões, M., Girard, M., Breitkreuz, L., Kimmig, J., and Lieberman, B.S. (2018) Getting Somewhere with the Red Queen: Chasing a Biologically Modern Definition of the Hypothesis. Biology Letters 14: 20170734 [Full Text] [PDF]
  • Strotz, L.C. and Allen, A.P. (2013) Assessing the role of cladogenesis in macroevolution by integrating fossil and molecular evidence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(8):2904-2909 [Full Text] [PDF]