CEB faculty member David Jablonski was recently featured in the Profiles section of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The PNAS Profiles showcase a member of the National Academy of the Sciences and ask them to talk about their career paths and how they became scientists. David's profile appeared in the June 25, 2013 issue of PNAS. An extract is included below and the full article can be read here.
Human activities are creating major environmental changes on the planet, contributing to habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and consumption of natural resources. Such changes place enormous pressures on biodiversity, disrupting long-standing evolutionary processes. David Jablonski, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and a recently elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, integrates studies of past originations and extinctions of species and higher taxa with data on the distributions and evolutionary relationships of living species to provide a multidimensional picture of how biodiversity has worked over geological timescales. Jablonski’s research has focused primarily on the extraordinarily abundant and well-preserved fossils of marine bivalves, such as scallops, cockles, oysters, and mussels, and has helped to reveal how these organisms and their spatial distributions have evolved over space and time. His findings could shed light on the origins of global variations in diversity, how evolutionary lineages collapse or rebound from mass extinctions, and how evolutionary processes might operate at several levels at once. These findings may even provide lessons for the future preservation of biodiversity.