Abigail Amanda Kelly
My research interests focus on how species respond to environmental change and what traits confer survival advantages. My dissertation explores how bison and horses of Alaska and Canada responded to environmental perturbation during the Late Pleistocene. This is an especially valuable setting because the fossil record is so detailed: large mammal bones are abundant and well-preserved in frozen riverbanks and radiocarbon dates provide a high-resolution time series. Further, vegetation and climatic change is well-constrained by pollen records and other proxies. Finally, while bison survived into the Holocene, horses were extirpated, making these two large herbivores a valuable comparison for assessing traits contributing to survival vs. extinction. In my dissertation, I am focusing on how dietary niche, body size, and seasonal landscape use changed during the environmental shifts of the late Pleistocene. In future work, I plan to explore additional ecological variables, such as mobility change, and expand my geographic and taxonomic focus to other terrestrial time series of Late Pleistocene and Holocene.
For more information, my website is scaleofscience.com.