TERRA is a research project funded from 2015–2020 by the European Research Council through their Starting Grant scheme. The aim is to understand how the extraordinary diversity of life on land today has been acquired through deep geological time, using the rich and well-studied fossil record of tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates) as an exemplar group. We are working with new and existing data in the Paleobiology Database, aiming to detail the spatial and temporal distribution of terrestrial tetrapods across their entire fossil record. By analysing these data using the cutting-edge and novel approaches to sampling-standardisation, our aim is to establish a new, rigorous paradigm for the long-term pattern of terrestrial diversification, and test and identify its drivers.

TERRA is led by Professor Richard Butler, and is based at the University of Birmingham. The project team includes postdoctoral research fellows, PhD students and research assistants. So far, the project has produced eight publications, media coverage, and >20 conference presentations.