The Search for Earliest Triassic Refugia

Four billion species are estimated to have evolved on Earth over the last 3.5 billion years, of which 99% are extinct. The end-Permian extinction is the largest extinction event that resulted in the elimination of 97% of oceanic species. The conditions that led to this devastating event are similar to the environmental changes we are experiencing today, including increasing temperature, ocean acidification and a decrease in ocean circulation. Understanding how marine ecosystems recovered from the end-Permian extinction is vital to future marine conservation efforts. Refuges are defined as sanctuaries to which organisms migrate during times of environmental stress. Despite their importance, the concept of refugia is poorly understood. This project will describe new Early Triassic refugia in Japan and in so-doing provide the necessary first steps to develop a universal framework for the identification of refugia in the rock record. The results could inform best practices to mitigate effects on biodiversity during the projected sixth extinction in our future.

Faculty Supervisor:

Charles Henderson


Amanda Godbold



Geography / Geology / Earth science



University of Calgary


Globalink Research Award

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