Thomas Dwyer (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Reconstructing the ecology and extinction dynamics of Late Quaternary Megafauna in China

Understanding the species diversity and structure of past ecosystems and the extent to which they have been affected through time by human activities and climate change is essential to understand the magnitude and pattern of human impacts on biodiversity through time, in order to make predictive hypotheses for modern conservation science. Extensive research has been conducted on the past diversity of Quaternary megafauna, and the chronology and pattern of faunal turnover, for Europe, North America and Australia, with the aim of understanding if humans or climate (or another reason) was the principle cause for the mass extinctions that wiped out large, well known species such as Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth). China is currently a world hotspot for conservation across numerous biomes and is a country with many mammal species at risk due to habitat destruction and over-exploitation. My research aims to gather together existing data on the past spatiotemporal distributions of large mammal species in China from across the Late Pleistocene, to reconstruct past distributions of living and extinct megafaunal species and document how these changed over time in order to understand the magnitude of extinctions in the region compared to those that occurred globally.

Back to the top