Visiting scientist – Amanda Godbold, University of Southern California

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Amanda Godbold is visiting the Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg from May 5th to July 31st 2018. During her stay she will compare the temporal changes in biodiversity across multiple sections within the Dachstein reef for the purpose of assessing ecologic stability. She is also interested in recording the spatial variability of these patch reefs.

Amanda studies marine ecosystems that are subject to severe environmental stress in order to better understand the refugia concept. The term refuge broadly refers to an ecosystem that acts as a sanctuary during times of environmental stress. This concept is important in understanding ecosystem recovery following mass-extinction events and can be used to strengthen modern conservation strategies. Despite the utility of this concept, refugia remain poorly understood, largely due to the lack of consistent criteria used to identify them. This disparity has led to various interpretations making it difficult to further develop the concept. Her primary research interest includes developing and testing parameters that can accurately identify a refuge in deep time. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates geologic, geochemical, statistical, paleoecologic, and ecologic analyses. In addition, she utilizes large paleobiological and biological databases to allow for a comprehensive analysis of biodiversity.