Abstract

The extinction and recovery of Ostracoda at the Pliensbachian–Toarcian (P–T) boundary are analyzed based on a database of taxonomically revised Pliensbachian to Toarcian transition ostracod assemblages. In contrast to earlier assertions, the results of this study indicate that ostracod extinction rates were significant in comparison with other marine invertebrates. An extinction rate of 54% has been calculated for upper Pliensbachian ostracod species occurring in more than one section. Diversification took place in the latest Pliensbachian (Spinatum Zone) and early Toarcian (Tenuicostatum Zone), whereas diversity decrease occurred in the middle early Toarcian (Strangewaysi Subzone, Serpentinus Zone). This notable diversity decline in the early Toarcian corresponds to a global mass extinction time, whose peak has been documented in the Tenuicostatum Zone. Meanwhile, the ostracod mass extinction occurred within the Serpentinus Zone and was followed by radiation and recovery in the succeeding Bifrons Zone. Similar diversity changes of ostracods are observed in other European areas, although in the Cordillera Ibérica, the demise began later. Many aspects of this event are still debated, and there is no common cause or single set of climatic or environmental changes common to this event. The supposed extinction-causing environmental changes resulting from anoxia episodes are unclear and are unlikely to have been of sufficient intensity or geographic extent to cause this global extinction. In this paper, the decrease in marine species diversity is explained by a new palaeoceanographic scenario, in which a rapid global cooling episode is regarded as the ultimate cause.

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