New uses for ancient middens: bridging ecological and evolutionary perspectives

Katie M. Becklin, Julio L. Betancourt, Joseph Braasch, Olivier Dézerald, Francisca P. Díaz, Angélica L. González, Robert Harbert, Camille A. Holmgren, Angela D. Hornsby, Claudio Latorre, Marjorie D. Matocq, Felisa A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rodent middens provide a fine-scale spatiotemporal record of plant and animal communities over the late Quaternary. In the Americas, middens have offered insight into biotic responses to past environmental changes and historical factors influencing the distribution and diversity of species. However, few studies have used middens to investigate genetic or ecosystem level responses. Integrating midden studies with neoecology and experimental evolution can help address these gaps and test mechanisms underlying eco-evolutionary patterns across biological and spatiotemporal scales. Fully realizing the potential of middens to answer cross-cutting ecological and evolutionary questions and inform conservation goals in the Anthropocene will require a collaborative research community to exploit existing midden archives and mount new campaigns to leverage midden records globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • environmental change
  • evolution
  • middens
  • neoecology
  • paleoecology
  • spatiotemporal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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