Abstract

The Volkhov Regional Stage (Middle Ordovician) in the East Baltic preserves diverse fossil assemblages dominated by epibenthic suspension feeders. Brachiopods, ostracodes, conodonts, echinoderms and bryozoans are the main components of palaeocommunities obtained from clay horizons in the Putilovo section (St Petersburg region, Russia), whereas trilobites, machaeridians, hyolithids, graptolites, benthic foraminifers and gastropods are rare or occur sporadically. Brachiopod bioclasts volumetrically dominate the debris of the studied sediments. Quantitative faunal data are used to assess species diversity patterns, as expressed by the species richness (total number of species in the standardized sample size) and by the evenness or equitability of the community. The numerical abundance of particular taxa in each standardized sample was used to evaluate the density of the fauna. The communities in the Volkhov Stage in Putilovo Quarry reveal a remarkable stability throughout the studied interval and are characterized by high density (1000–6000 specimens per 100 g), relatively moderate species richness (10–15 species) and a moderately variable equitability (0.3–0.7) for the dominant fossil groups (conodonts, ostracodes and brachiopods). Ostracodes significantly increase in numbers within the upper part of the section. This confirms a shallowing of the basin during the late Volkhov interval. Small-scale variability of the diversity estimates does not correlate with the small-scale sea-level changes reconstructed for this part of the basin. It may be connected with error in diversity measurement, or the result of undetected environmental parameters. Variability estimates for different faunal groups are poorly correlated because particular groups have different environmental tolerances.

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