Opening of the Hispanic Corridor and Early Jurassic bivalve biodiversity
Martin Aberhan, 2002. "Opening of the Hispanic Corridor and Early Jurassic bivalve biodiversity", Palaeobiogeography and Biodiversity Change: the Ordovician and Mesozoic–Cenozoic Radiations, J. A. Crame, A. W. Owen
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The Hispanic Corridor is a postulated marine seaway linking the eastern Pacific and western Tethyan oceans as early as Early Jurassic times. Two existing hypotheses relate the Pliensbachian-Toarcian bivalve extinction and recovery to immigration of bivalve species through the Hispanic Corridor. The extinction hypothesis implies that, in South America, the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction can be partly explained by the immigration of bivalves through the Hispanic Corridor and subsequent competitive replacement. The recovery hypothesis states that, in NW Europe, the renewed rise in diversity in the late Toarcian/Aalenian was largely a consequence of immigration of taxa from Andean South America via the Hispanic Corridor.
To test these hypotheses, I calculated immigration and origination rates of bivalves per million years. In both regions, early Pliensbachian to Aalenian immigration rates remained at low levels, thus disproving both hypotheses. By comparison, the origination of new species generally played a much more important role than immigration in controlling overall diversity of both regions. Future research should investigate if this is a more general pattern in the recovery of post-extinction biotas.
The apparently global Pliensbachian-Toarcian diversity crisis may be best explained by a combination of physicochemical factors, invoking intense volcanism, sea-level highstand and widespread anoxia, as well as biological factors. Recovery from this mass extinction commenced when origination rates increased again, which, in the Andean basins, was in the Aalenian and in NW Europe, the late Toarcian.
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The study of biodiversity through geological time provides important information for the understanding of diversity patterns at the present day. Hitherto, much effort has been paid to studying the mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic but the research emphasis has now changed to focus on what occurred between these spectacular catastrophic events. After the Cambrian ‘explosion’ of marine organisms with readily preservable skeletons, there have been two intervals when life radiated dramatically — the Ordovician Period, and the mid-Mesozoic-Cenozoic eras. These intervals saw a fundamental reorganization of biodiversity on a hierarchy of biogeographical scales. The size of these diversity increases and their probable causes are topics of intense debate, and there is an intriguing link between the dispersal of continents, changing climates and the proliferation of life.
The papers in this volume are written by palaeontologists, biogeographers and geologists addressing the highly topical field of palaeobiodiversity in the context of the Earth’s changing geography. Palaeobiogeography and Biodiversity Change: the Ordovician and Mesozoic-Cenozoic Radiations illustrates many aspects of the two great episodes of biotic radiation and shows how long periods of time and plate tectonic movements have a fundamental influence on the generation and maintenance of major extant biodiversity patterns.
The volume will be of interest to professional palaeontologists, biologists and geologists, as well as to students in earth and biological sciences.