This study will develop a new view of how the diversity of life has evolved across vast periods of time by using and improving new statistical molecular modelling tools.
The fossil record shows successive extinction and evolutionary replacement of groups of organisms. These turnover events have been linked with global climate change and catastrophic impacts of extraterrestrial objects. Current understanding of these processes is limited by deficiencies of the fossil record and misinterpretations of evolutionary trees. With a large sample of the Australian flora, we will test alternative hypotheses about the relative roles of extinction and speciation in turnover and their links to three major geological and climatic events.