To strengthen Paleontology structurally, we envision a community with tight personal bonds between its scattered actors that can agree on a joint long-term research vision for scientific cooperation. We imagine that the joint identification of research priorities and a strong common voice could influence the planning of new positions in isolated universities sustaining the subject’s capacity to act and teach. This will enable the small community to enhance its scientific, political and societal potential by improving personal and professional networks, by facilitating national and international knowledge exchange and by initiating novel scientific cooperation. The integration of young scientists in cross-subject scientific cooperation will result in a highly connected, cooperative and well-trained next generation of paleontologists.
Paleontology studies the fundamental evolutionary and ecological processes that generate and maintain the complex patterns of life through Earth history. By analyzing the fate of the 99.9% of all species that have existed on the planet but are now extinct, Paleontology can assess the impact of environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and thus also provide baselines to assess current, human-driven changes. Over the last few decades, Paleontology has been transforming from a largely descriptive subject to a predictive science with underestimated potential to elucidate global change impacts and evolutionary laws. Novel research directions, an increasingly quantitative approach, and new techniques offer many opportunities for Paleontology.
For questions please contact Dr. Barbara Seuss (pal-synthesis (at) fau.de)