Abstract

This study provides a taxonomic treatment and comparison of lower Gorstian (Silurian) radiolarians recovered from two sections of the Cape Phillips Formation in the Canadian Arctic that accumulated in two different paleoenvironmental settings. Twilight Creek is more basinal, located ∼100 km from the paleo-shelf margin, whereas Snowblind Creek is located within 1 km of the paleo-shelf break, on Cornwallis Island. The fauna, like other material from the Cape Phillips Formation, is extremely well preserved and was recovered from four samples at two localities, all from the Lobograptus progenitor graptolite Zone, an interval that has few published studies regarding radiolarians. A total of 28 species are recognized, of which two are new and described herein (Fusalfanus bilateralis n. sp. and Pseudospongoprunum parvispina n. sp.), belonging to the Haplotaeniatidae, Inaniguttidae, “Sponguridae”, Ceratoikiscidae, Entactiniidae, Palaeoscenidiidae, and Secuicollactidae. Based on these new data, the stratigraphic ranges of some taxa are extended. The species concepts of several closely related inaniguttid species are re-evaluated. As a result, Inanihella tarangulica Nazarov and Ormiston, 1984 is transferred to the genus Fusalfanus Furutani, 1990 based on cortical shell structure, and Inanihella duroacus, Inanihella legiuncula, and Inanihella perarmata are synonymized under Fusalfanus tarangulica sensu lato. Aciferopylorum admirandum is transferred to Fusalfanus and considered a junior synonym of Fusalfanus osobudaniensis. The comparative analysis of taxonomic richness and composition reveals that the more distal sample from Bathurst Island exhibits a slight, but statistically significant, higher alpha diversity at the species rank than the more proximal basin/platform samples from Snowblind Creek. Biodiversity indices at the genus rank produced mixed results, indicating that differences between sites are at best slight. There is also a strong taxonomic separation between the fine and coarse size radiolarian fractions recovered during the sieving of each sample. The siliceous sponge spicule assemblages from these faunas show an inverse diversity relationship to the radiolarians in that Snowblind Creek contains greater alpha diversity than Twilight Creek. This study provides the first documentation of facies-controls in Silurian radiolarian diversity and is useful in evaluating the role of taxa used in biostratigraphy.

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