Decoupled Plant and Insect Diversity After the End-Cretaceous Extinction

  title={Decoupled Plant and Insect Diversity After the End-Cretaceous Extinction},
  author={Peter Wilf and Conrad C. Labandeira and Kirk R. Johnson and Bethany Ellis},
  pages={1112 - 1115}
Food web recovery from mass extinction is poorly understood. We analyzed insect-feeding damage on 14,999 angiosperm leaves from 14 latest Cretaceous, Paleocene, and early Eocene sites in the western interior United States. Most Paleocene floras have low richness of plants and of insect damage. However, a low-diversity 64.4-million-year-old flora from southeastern Montana shows extremely high insect damage richness, especially of leaf mining, whereas an anomalously diverse 63.8-million-year-old… 

The End-Cretaceous Extinction and Ecosystem Change

Examination of fossil plant–insect associations in the continental realm and trace fossils in the marine realm provide considerable data for understanding organismic response to major ecological

Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

  • P. Wilf
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    The New phytologist
  • 2008
Recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene is emphasized, including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary.

Novel Insect Leaf-Mining after the End-Cretaceous Extinction and the Demise of Cretaceous Leaf Miners, Great Plains, USA

The results strongly relate the high damage diversity on the depauperate Mexican Hat flora to an influx of novel insect herbivores during the early Paleocene, possibly caused by a transient warming event and range expansion, and indicate drastic extinction rather than survivorship of Cretaceous insect taxa from refugia.

No post-Cretaceous ecosystem depression in European forests? Rich insect-feeding damage on diverse middle Palaeocene plants, Menat, France

The results show that the end-Cretaceous event did not cause a uniform, long-lasting depression of global terrestrial ecosystems, Rather, it gave rise to varying regional patterns of ecological collapse and recovery that appear to have been strongly influenced by distance from the Chicxulub structure.

Rapid recovery of Patagonian plant–insect associations after the end-Cretaceous extinction

The results support the emerging idea of large-scale geographic heterogeneity in extinction and recovery from the end-Cretaceous catastrophe.

Diverse Plant-Insect Associations from the Latest Cretaceous and Early Paleocene of Patagonia, Argentina

Abstract. Little is known about the recovery of terrestrial ecosystems after the end-Cretaceous extinction outside of the Western Interior of North America, relatively close to the 66 Ma bolide

Steady diversification of derived liverworts under Tertiary climatic fluctuations

A remarkable constant accumulation of diversity through time for the most species-rich family of liverworts, Lejeuneaceae, inferred by divergence time estimates supports the recently developed concept of a dual role of the tropics as both a museum and a cradle of biodiversity.

Sharply increased insect herbivory during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

This study uses plant fossils from the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming to document the combined effects of temperature and pCO2 on insect herbivory, and suggests that increased insect Herbivory is likely to be a net long-term effect of anthropogenic p CO2 increase and warming temperatures.

The Fossil Record of Plant-Insect Dynamics

Exploratory research themes provide a more complete account of a great nexus of ecological activity that has been wedged between the two most diverse organismic groups on land for the past 410 million years.

Ecology and Evolution of Gall-Inducing Arthropods: The Pattern From the Terrestrial Fossil Record

  • C. Labandeira
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • 2021
Insect and mite galls on land plants have a spotty but periodically rich and abundant fossil record of damage types (DTs), ichnotaxa, and informally described gall morphotypes. The earliest gall is



Richness of plant-insect associations in Eocene Patagonia: a legacy for South American biodiversity.

Significant more damage diversity is found at Laguna del Hunco than in the North American floras, whether measured on bulk collections or on individual plant species, for both damage morphotypes and feeding groups.

Response of plant-insect associations to paleocene-eocene warming

Insect damage on fossil leaves found in southwestern Wyoming, from the late Paleocene-early Eocene global warming interval, demonstrates that the diversity and intensity of herbivory should increase with rising temperatures at constant latitude.

Impact of the terminal Cretaceous event on plant–insect associations

Evidence for a major extinction of insect herbivores is provided by presence–absence data for 51 plant–insect associations on 13,441 fossil plant specimens, spanning the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary

A Tropical Rainforest in Colorado 1.4 Million Years After the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary

Orographic conditions caused by local topography, combined with equable climate, appear to have allowed for the establishment of rainforests within 1.4 million years of the K-T boundary.

Recovery after mass extinction: evolutionary assembly in large-scale biosphere dynamics.

  • R. SoléJ. MontoyaD. Erwin
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2002
A simple evolutionary model with three trophic levels is presented, and its properties are compared with characteristic patterns of ecological response to disturbances in continuous models of three-level ecosystems to provide a preliminary ecological theory of recoveries.

Pelagic evolution and environmental recovery after the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction

The evolutionary recovery of planktic foraminifera from the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction was closely linked to recovery of the marine carbon system. Both the evolutionary recovery and the

South American palaeobotany and the origins of neotropical rainforests.

  • R. BurnhamKirk R. Johnson
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 2004
It is indicated that evidence of neotropical rainforest is exceedingly rare and equivocal before the Palaeocene, and a mismatch of evidence regarding the age of origin between sites of palaeobotanical high diversity and sites of predicted tropical climates should be reconciled with intensified collecting efforts in South America.

Does Herbivore Diversity Depend on Plant Diversity? The Case of California Butterflies

It is found that although plant and butterfly diversities are positively correlated, multiple regression, path models, and spatial analysis indicate that once primary productivity and topographical variability are incorporated into models, neither measure of plant richness has any relationship with butterfly richness.

Organic carbon fluxes and ecological recovery from the cretaceous-tertiary mass extinction

Under this hypothesis, marine production may have recovered shortly after the mass extinction, but the structure of the open-ocean ecosystem did not fully recover for more than 3 million years.

Evidence for an in situ early Paleocene rainforest from Castle Rock, Colorado

A very diverse, early Paleocene (63.8 ± 0.3 Ma) fossil leaf site located in Castle Rock, Colorado represents nearly autochthonous burial of a rainforest floor. This is an unusual fossil flora