Michael FooteLouis Block Distinguished Service Professor

Research Focus:
(773) 702-4320
Hinds 201

Research Interests

I am a paleobiologist interested in documenting and interpreting large-scale patterns in the history of life.

Current research focuses on biogeography, evolutionary paleoecology, and macroevolution. For example: How does the spatial and environmental distribution of species and genera affect extinction risk? Which factors govern temporal variation in geographic ranges of taxa on geological time scales? Why do rates of origination and extinction vary among different environmental settings?

I have also worked in other areas, principally morphological diversification and mathematical modeling of evolution. I maintain an active interest in these fields and am happy to advise students in these and other areas.

Current student research includes: relationships between taxonomic and ecological change within ancient communities; biogeography and diversity of phytoplankton; and the influence of life-history traits on extinction risk.

Selected Publications

  • Crampton, J. S., S. R. Meyers, R. A. Cooper, P. M. Sadler, M. Foote, and D. Harte. 2018. Pacing of Paleozoic macroevolutionary rates by Milankovitch grand cycles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 115:5686-5691. 
  • Foote, M. R. A. Cooper, J. S. Crampton, and P. M. Sadler. 2018. Diversity-dependent evolutionary rates in early Palaeozoic zooplankton. Proceedings of the Royal Society B:20180122.
  • Foote, M., K. A. Ritterbush, and A. I. Miller. 2016. Geographic ranges of genera and their constituent species: structure, evolutionary dynamics, and extinction resistance. Paleobiology 42:269–288.
  • Crampton, J. S., R. A. Cooper, P. M. Sadler, and M. Foote. 2016. Greenhouse-icehouse transition in the Late Ordovician marks a step change in extinction regime in the marine plankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 113:1498–1503.
  • Foote, M. 2016. On the measurement of occupancy in ecology and paleontology. Paleobiology 42:707–739.