Skip to Main Content

Guild-structure and evolution of Mesozoic benthic shelf communities

Martin Aberhan
Guild-structure and evolution of Mesozoic benthic shelf communities
Palaios (December 1994) 9 (6): 516-545


On the basis of the relative abundance of species in 334 literature-derived paleocommunities the evolutionary history of Mesozoic benthic marine macroinvertebrate associations is evaluated quantitatively. The data base is analyzed within a framework of five broad environmental subdivisions (salinity-controlled environments, coarse-grained and fine-grained shallow shelf, mid to outer shelf, and oxygen-controlled environments), six time units, and 13 guilds. The guild-spectrum tends to be broadest in habitats controlled by biological factors. Under more rigorous and variable physical conditions ecospace is utilized less intensely than in stable and predictable environments. The quantitatively documented long-term patterns confirm the results of previous studies which applied a more qualitative approach. Both persisting and evolving aspects are evident: The permanence of various guild-assemblages and the evolutionary stability of morphotypes in all studied environments are outstanding features. Superimposed on these conservative aspects is a general trend towards increasingly shallow to moderately deep infaunal suspension-feeding life habits. This infaunalization can be traced back to the success of siphonate heterodont bivalves. Their evolutionary history illustrates the causal relation between major innovations, polyphyletic radiations, and the rise in relative abundance and biomass of an ecological group. The net increase of infaunal organisms was largely controlled by a rise in Mesozoic predation pressure and the adoption of new strategies.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 9
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Guild-structure and evolution of Mesozoic benthic shelf communities
Author(s): Aberhan, Martin
Affiliation: Wurzburg Universitat, Institut fur Palaeontologie, Wurzburg, Federal Republic of Germany
Pages: 516-545
Published: 199412
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 113
Accession Number: 1996-021886
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 199608
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal