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Dr. Carrie L. Tyler
Assistant Professor
Miami University of Ohio

  • Processes driving changes in ecosystem structure and functioning
  • Processes governing the distribution, paleoecology, and evolution of marine invertebrates
  • The fidelity of the fossil record
  • The application and development of quantitative paleontological methods
  • Macroscale evolutionary patterns and changes in ecosystem structure through geologic time
  • Morphometrics and functional morphology of marine invertebrates


Ecosystem Dynamics and the Consequences of Invasive Species

Although a leading cause of extinction in modern ecosystems, the effects of biotic invasions on ecosystem structure and functioning remain poorly understood. Food web data before invasion are rare, and without direct comparisons before and after invasion, differences in overall network structure are difficult to identify. The fossil record contains intervals of dramatic ecosystem changes, and can thus provide insights into persistent ecosystem conditions over evolutionary timescales, particularly before and after invasions. Therefore, we are examining shallow marine food webs from the Late Ordovician (Cincinnati Arch, USA) before and after the Richmondian Invasion, a well-documented influx of invasive species. Network structure and functioning are being compared using descriptive metrics and Cascading Extinction on Graphs models.

Ordovician Pre-Invasion Food Web


Tyler, C.L., Dexter, T.A., Portell, R.W., Kowalewski, M., 2018. Predation-facilitated preservation of echinoids in a tropical marine environment. Palaios 33(10):478-486. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2018.046

Tyler, C.L., Kowalewski, M., 2018. Regional surveys of macrobenthic shelf invertebrate communities in Onslow Bay, North Carolina. Scientific Data 5:180054.

Tyler, C.L., 2018. A conceptual map of conservation paleobiology: visualizing a discipline. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, C.L. Tyler and C.L. Schneider (Eds.), Springer Verlag, Cham, p227-254.

Tyler, C.L., Schneider, C.L., 2018. Conservation paleobiology: the need for a paleontological perspective. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, C.L. Tyler and C.L. Schneider (Eds.), Springer Verlag, Cham, p1-10.

Tyler, C.L., Schneider, C.L., (Eds.) 2018. Marine Conservation Paleobiology, Springer Verlag, Cham.

Tyler. C.L., Kowalewski, M., 2017. Surrogate taxa as reliable proxies of spatial biodiversity patterns in marine benthic communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284:20162839. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2839

Cover Feature


Dr. Tyler's research was recently featured on the cover of Palaios. Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2018.046

Undergraduate Hannah Kempf named Goldwater Scholar


Read the full story here 

Surrogate taxa and fossils as reliable proxies of spatial biodiversity patterns in marine benthic communities 

Recent study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2839. Funding from the National Science Foundation helped support this research, which was featured in an article by the University of Floridahttps://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/science/mollusk-graveyards-are-time-machines-to-oceans-pristine-past/

To assess marine community response to environmental and anthropogenic change, we must understand spatial heterogeneity in present-day and preindustrial ecosystems. As previous studies predominantly utilize single higher taxa, here we evaluate the validity of using single taxa, such as mollusks, as surrogates for entire marine invertebrate communities and as paleontological proxies. Results suggests that single groups can serve as reliable community proxies, and that spatial fidelity of death assemblages is high. Therefore, integrated analyses of ecological and paleontological data utilizing surrogate taxa can quantify anthropogenic changes in marine ecosystems and advance our understanding of spatial and temporal aspects of biodiversity.

Dr. Tyler featured by the Miami University's Office of the Advancement of Research and Scholarship


Read the article here

Predators often leave distinct marks on prey skeletons, including tooth marks, fractures, scars, and drill holes. Fossils that contain those distinct marks can be used to explore the role of predation over the span of millions of years. To date, research on the fossil record of predation has centered mainly on mollusks: snails, clams, and their relatives. The proposed project will expand the history of predation beyond mollusks, and assess the impact of predation on sea urchins, sand dollars, and other echinoids. Echinoids are a commercially important group of animals and a major food source for many marine predators. This project aims to develop a global reference system for identifying traces left by predators on echinoid prey, which is expected to stimulate echinoid research on both modern and ancient ecosystems. Once assembled, the database will then be used to study the impact of predators on the evolution of echinoids over the last 100 million years, during which, they have diversified and become a critical part of the marine biosphere.

Neontological museum collections in conjunction with the literature will be used to codify trace characteristics of various types of interactions (predation, parasitism, commensalism, etc.) that affect modern echinoids. The resultant database will include data on the identity/ecology of trace makers, identity/ecology/phylogeny of affected echinoids, and morphology, frequency, and distribution of traces. The database will then be used to explore the fossil record, and evaluate hypotheses regarding the relative evolutionary importance of select types of biotic interactions affecting the ecology and evolutionary history of echinoids.

Dr. Tyler's research featured in the Deep Sea News! 

Take a look a the article "Celebrity Wax Sculptures for Snails"

Read the original paper published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom "The Utility of Wax Replicas as a Measure of Crab Attack Frequency in the Rocky Intertidal"