School of Earth and Environment

Bethany Allen Bethany Allen

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address:
Room: 7.130 c

Affiliation: Earth Surface Science Institute


2016-17 MSc Palaeobiology at University of Bristol

2012-15 BSc Natural Sciences (Biology and Earth Sciences) at Durham University

Project details

Project title

Biodiversity in the extreme world of Pangea.


Dr Alex Dunhill, Dr Daniel Hill, Prof Erin Saupe (University of Oxford) and Prof Paul Wignall


Leeds York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

Start date

1 October 2017

Project outline

The modern-day latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is a fundamental ecological principal based on the decrease in biodiversity from the equatorial to polar regions. Our understanding of the LDG is critical to predicting the loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change. The fossil record provides a unique record of the evolution and dynamics of LDGs and suggests that the spatial distribution of biodiversity has not been consistent over the past 500 million years (Mannion et al. 2014).

One period of Earth history where LDGs may have been significantly different to the present is during the late Palaeozoic - early Mesozoic, during the time of the supercontinent Pangaea. The Permian-Triassic represents a turbulent period of Earth history with fluctuating extreme icehouse-greenhouse conditions and frequent large-scale volcanic events resulting in four major mass extinction events (Wignall, 2015). The aim of this project is to test the effect of the extreme climatic fluctuations and mass extinctions through the Permian-Triassic on the LDGs and to examine which latitudes proved the most vulnerable to biodiversity loss under extreme climatic stress such as the superhot world of the earliest Triassic (Sun et al. 2012).