Changes in phytogeographical pattern of the Metasequoia fossil record correspond to global paleoecology and paleoclimate since Late Cretaceous times. Genetic and morphological studies of the living representatives of Metasequoia have further elucidated the evolutionary dynamics of the genus. In a continuing effort to integrate paleobotanical studies with the systematics and phytogeography of modern Metasequoia (the species M. glyptostroboides, in China), we have computerized the fossil database and used a geographic information system to untangle lines of evidence of the evolution of Metasequoia. Using Metasequoia as an example, we show the power of this technology for integrating spatial information on fossil occurrences and their geological and environmental context. Future Metasequoia fossil reports, combined with Global Positioning System locational descriptions, can be steadily integrated into the geographic information system database and offer more information for our understanding of Metasequoia evolution. Additionally, a geographic information system database has been created, linking observations of the distribution of cultivated M. glyptostroboides trees throughout the United States, and will eventually include observations of native populations in China, as part of the ongoing effort to implement an effective Metasequoia conservation plan.
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