TED Senior Fellow Lauren Sallan is a paleobiologist using a wide variety of data and methods to reveal how biodiversity changes at scales beyond human observation (macroevolution).

Why you should listen

Lauren Sallan uses the vast record of living and fossil marine ecosystems as a global, "deep time" database. She combines cutting-edge analytics with experimental results and natural observations to reveal why some species persist and diversify while others die off, and how life responds to environmental challenges big and small. She has used this multidisciplinary approach to discover the largest, "sixth" mass extinction of vertebrates, reveal the environmental origins of our earliest ancestors and show how new fish predators can shift prey ecology at global scales.

Sallan is the founder and head of the Marine Macroevolution Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), Japan, where she leads an international team of multidisciplinary scientists. She was previously the Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and became a TED Fellow in 2017 and a TED Senior Fellow in 2019. Her research has been published in outlets such as Science, Nature, PNAS and Current Biology, as well featured by The New York Times, the BBC, Forbes, the New Scientist, the Discovery Channel and others.

More news and ideas from Lauren Sallan

Live from TEDSummit 2019

10 years of TED Fellows: Notes from the Fellows Session of TEDSummit 2019

July 22, 2019

The event: TEDSummit 2019, Fellows Session, hosted by Shoham Arad and Lily Whitsitt When and where: Monday, July 22, 2019, 9am BST, at the Edinburgh Convention Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland Speakers: Carl Joshua Ncube, Suzanne Lee, Sonaar Luthra, Jon Lowenstein, Alicia Eggert, Lauren Sallan, Laura Boykin Opening: A quick, witty performance from Carl Joshua Ncube, […]

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Live from TED2017

Gallery: Who won the evolutionary race in our oceans?

April 25, 2017

TED Fellow Lauren Sallan is a paleobiologist who analyzes “big data” — the fossil record — to study large-scale evolution. As she says: “I want to know why some fishes win and others lose.” Here’s the story of her talk, in amazing work from illustrator and animator Dennis Moore.    

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