The project will use existing timeseries databases, including BioTIME (developed at St Andrews ), the 42 year UKCEH Countryside Survey and Ecological Change Network datasets, and palaeoecological databases like the European Pollen Database and Neotoma, with published but currently unarchived datasets.
What/where? It will focus on aquatic and terrestrial systems, which are well-documented in both disicplines, and allow analysis of macroecological and ecosystem-specific trends. In freshwater systems, pre-industrial baselines are embedded in the EU Water Framework Directive, providing legislative motivation to connect past change with contemporary management.
How? The project will use complementary metrics to compare cross-time insights into ecosystem dynamics and establish the strengths of each source. These may include biodiversity; species associations and community reorganisation; environmental indicators, e.g. Ellenberg indicators ; and functional traits .
Analyses will (1) begin with the shared time period to compare disciplines, (2) test the sensitivity of trends to variations in spatial, temporal and taxonomic resolution (e.g. changes in functional or broad habitat groups, and in taxonomic resolution), and (3) extend to longer durations to assess how temporal scaling affects the representation of ecological patterns and attribution of drivers of change. These will be used to develop a protocol for comparative analysis by identifying optimal data characteristics for joint analysis, providing the rigorous testing needed to how methodological differences affect representation of trends, and thus establish when and how palaeo-data can be used to extend ecological timeseries. They will allow the project to examine whether step-changes in human-nature relations or processes like biotic homogenisation  are creating no-analogue states and imposing a filter on future assemblages, particularly alongside changes in the type, magnitude and frequency of disturbances.