Despite the crucial role of epibenthic primary producers (cyanobacteria, green and red algae), no diversity curves for calcimicrobes and calcareous algae are available to assess the pyramiding paleoecology characterizing the Ordovician biodiversification episode. A total of 24 taxa of calcimicrobes and calcareous algae are identified from a Dapingian to lower Katian succession of carbonate sedimentary rocks exposed at the Leyayilitag ridge, Bachu Uplift, Tarim Basin, northwest China. Calcimicrobes (14 taxa), Dasycladales (seven taxa), Bryopsidales (one taxon), and Cyclocrinales (two taxa) contribute to five distinct taphocoenoses characterizing a suite of carbonate mounds. In stratigraphic order, these are calathid sponge mounds, algal calcimicrobial mounds, algal mounds, algal reefs, and calcimicrobial mounds. Within the lower Katian Belodina confluens Zone, the diversity increases substantially from around 5 to more than 20 taxa per 2 Ma. This increase in diversity is based on new calcimicrobes (Bija, Ortonella, Garwoodia, Hedstroemia, Rothpletzella, Phacelophyton, Rauserina) and the diversification of Dasycladales and Cyclocrinales. By comparison, the global diversity of calcimicrobes and calcareous algae (derived from literature data) started to increase earlier, namely within the late Darriwilian Pygodus serra Zone (offset of about 4 Ma). This offset might be due to the peculiar lithology of the Sandbian Tumuxiuke Formation (condensed section of red nodular limestones bounded by disconformities). However, a similar temporal offset is recorded for calathid sponge mounds; therefore, the Tarim tectonic microplate (Tarim Block) might display an endemic–anachronistic character. The diversity curves of Ordovician benthic primary producers (calcimicrobes, calcareous algae) are similar to those recorded by some fossil groups, in particular eleutherozoan echinoderms.

You do not currently have access to this article.