Robert Gastaldo, the Whipple-Coddington Professor of Geology, has coedited a new textbook Nature Through Time (Springer, 2020). Starting from the initial colonization of land about 430 million years ago to today, the book traces the changes primarily in terrestrial ecosystems from the world around us. The book, with 14 chapters and 96 different contributors from across the world, includes all levels of the biosphere—plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. In addition to being a coeditor, Gastaldo is the lead author on two chapters and a contributor to a third.
“Previous textbooks at the university level have taken a ‘forward-in-time’ march from early plants and animals, with coverage of groups of organisms,” said Gastaldo. “Here, we have used ‘postcards’ and case studies from around the globe, covering specific points in geologic time to demonstrate how what we know about our planet today is rooted deeply in its past. And how past diversification, extinction, and Earth Systems events have played their roles in the planet’s biodiversity.”