ESS Thursday Seminar – Caroline Stromberg

This week, Caroline Stromberg, Faculty in UW Biology and Adjunct in ESS, will be presenting our ESS colloquium. Jody Bourgeois is faculty host, we will be taking Caroline to lunch on Friday, let Jody (jbourgeo) know if you would like to join us. The graduate students will take her to lunch on Thursday.

Caroline Stromberg, University of Washington Biology Department and Adjunct in Earth & Space Sciences

Thu, November 15, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
JHN 102 [cookies at 3 outside JHN 302]

ESS Host: Jody Bourgeois

Title: The ecological role(s) of flowering plants in Late Cretaceous ecosystems in North America: insights from a uniquely preserved ashfall flora in central Wyoming

Abstract: Flowering plants (angiosperms) diversified starting in the Early Cretaceous, but did not become ecologically dominant in at mid-high latitudes ecosystems until the Late Cretaceous. What were the ecological niches of these early, taxonomically rich, but rare angiosperms? I will talk about the 73 million-year-old Big Cedar Ridge ashfall flora of the Meeteetse Formation, Wyoming that allows us to address this question. Preserved in situ at the base of a bentonitic ash bed exposed over a 4 km outcrop, this flora provides a unique landscape-scale snapshot of vegetation at the end of the time of the dinosaurs, when angiosperms were still marginal in North American ecosystems. Because of the unusual preservation at Big Cedar Ridge, we are able to, for the first time, apply neo-ecological niche modeling to test hypotheses about the ecological role of angiosperms before they became ecosystem dominants.