A challenge for 21st century research is to understand how species respond to environmental change. Climate, topography, and oceanic conditions changed tremendously over geological time, life responded through adaptation, radiation, and extinction. The paleontological and geological records therefore allow us to measure the rates at which species respond, the factors that tip the balance between adaptation and extinction, and the conditions that lead to environmental collapse and mass extinction. However, the temporal, spatial, and taxonomic resolutions of the fossil record do not easily mesh with the scale at which we make observations on the living world. Our research makes these connections.