Mammal community structure analysis

Kris Kovarovic, Denise F. Su, Kari Lintulaakso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Fundamentally rooted in Odum’s niche concept, mammal community studies are based on the understanding that each resident species reveals information about its environment through its adaptations to specific resources and landscape features. Ecologists view the community’s profile of strategies for exploiting particular spatial and dietary niches; a quantitative summary of these strategies when compared across locales from a variety of habitat types demonstrates striking similarities in the communities that live in similar habitats regardless of their location. Recognizing that communities can be compared across space, paleoecologists implemented community studies across time in an effort to reconstruct past environments. This synecological approach to paleoenvironmental reconstruction may be thought of as holistic, since it is not restricted to a single mammal family. However, thorough explorations of how fossil and extant communities differ have revealed significant dissimilarities brought about by the taphonomic history of paleontological assemblages. Techniques have been developed for addressing differences between the modern comparative community sample and the paleontological sample to which it is compared, but recent research conducted by both neo- and paleoecologists has suggested that there are unappreciated differences between modern habitats, as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameVertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology
ISSN (Print)1877-9077


  • Community analysis
  • Ecological diversity
  • Ecomorphology
  • Niche
  • Synecology
  • Taxon-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Palaeontology


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