Today's guest speaker is Erin E. Saupe. Her research started from her fascination by Earth's biodiversity, both in the past and the present. She is specifically interested in how species respond to environmental changes with her studies on mollusks like oysters and clams. These mollusks were from three million years ago, where the temperature was really hot. According to the speaker, the temperature from three million years ago can be used to predict the result of the climate change in the future. According to her research of ninety-three different species of mollusks, half of the species are extinct while half of them are still present today. From this information, she went on to research the reason behind this. Her research is based off of three questions:
1. What will happen to the species in the future?
2. What is the frequency of a niche shift?
3. What makes species more likely to extinct?
She found that these species will not progress in the future and that species niche do not really change over time. This means that if environment change happens too fast, then the species will not be able to change in response to the environment. She also found that geographic range is a huge factor in the extinction of species. If the geographic range of species is low, then they will extinct faster compared to species with a high geographic range, like the coyote, who will not be likely to extinct. From these findings, she can come up with ecological models that is best suited for each species. Environmental agencies can use her findings to come up with better plans to preserve biodiversity.
She is also extremely interested in spiders, specifically a brown spider with a venomous bite. These spiders are located in southeastern America. Erin E. Saupe is extremely interested in researching their specific habitat and niche and what makes them stay in that specific area. She is further interested in investigating how climate change would have an effect on the spider's life. She is spending her final months at Yale and eventually starting her career as a professor at University of Oxford, teaching evolutionary biology.