Coral biogeography in the Late Ordovician (Cincinnatian) of Laurentia
Robert J. Elias, Graham A. Young, Dong-Jin Lee, Boo-Young Bae, 2013. "Coral biogeography in the Late Ordovician (Cincinnatian) of Laurentia", Early Palaeozoic Biogeography and Palaeogeography, D. A. T. Harper, T. Servais
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During the Late Ordovician, Cincinnatian, the epicontinental seas and continental margin of Laurentia provided habitats that were suitable for corals. Biogeographical differentiation occurred within this equatorially placed continent, when corals were introduced to areas that had fundamentally different environments. There were four biogeographical divisions, characterized by distinctive faunas that included some endemic taxa: the Red River–Stony Mountain Province, Richmond Province, Edgewood Province and the less well understood, informal ‘Continental Margin’ Area. In each division, the potential for diversification and the capacity for diversity were determined by factors such as the duration and size of the division, the amount of immigration, the extent of evolution and biogeographical differentiation, faunal responses to changes in sea-level and climate, and the complexity of the ecological structure. The development of multiple biogeographical divisions, each contributing to overall diversity, enhanced the ‘Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’. During the latest Ordovician mass extinction, there was a reduction of diversity and loss of biogeographical divisions within Laurentia. The divisions were terminated when their characteristic taxa disappeared, in response to major environmental changes associated with glaciation in Gondwana and subsequent global warming.