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Spectacular preservation of seagrasses and seagrass-associated communities from the Pliocene of Rhodes, Greece

Pierre Moissette, Efterpi Koskeridou, Jean-Jacques Cornee, Francois Guillocheau and Christophe Lecuyer
Spectacular preservation of seagrasses and seagrass-associated communities from the Pliocene of Rhodes, Greece
Palaios (March 2007) 22 (2): 200-211

Abstract

An exceptionally well-preserved fossil seagrass community occurs in the late Pliocene of the Greek Island of Rhodes. The siliciclastic deposits of the Kritika section (Kritika Member, Rhodes Formation) contain several beds of clay and fine-grained sand with abundant remains of the leaves of Posidonia oceanica. A coarser sand bed with in situ rhizomes of the same endemic Mediterranean phanerogam also was found. Samples yield a diverse skeletal assemblage of 121 species of crustose coralline algae, foraminifers, annelids, gastropods, bivalves, encrusting bryozoans, and ostracodes, some of which also live exclusively on the leaves of present-day P. oceanica. The community of organisms associated with the rhizomes is slightly poorer (57 species), with bivalves appearing as distinctively abundant components of this assemblage (21 species). An analysis of the relationships between skeletal organisms and fossil leaves and rhizomes shows that the majority of them lived together in the same seagrass-vegetated environment, were transported a short distance from their natural habitat, and buried very rapidly in fine-grained sediments, thus preserving this remarkable assemblage almost intact. The rhizomes were preserved in growth position within a coarse-grained sand trapped by their horizontal and vertical network. The fossil assemblage compares well in terms of major skeletal components with modern shallow-water P. oceanica meadows. This study also provides evidence for the presence during the Pliocene of an already well-established and widespread seagrass community with biotopes comparable to those of the present-day Mediterranean.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 22
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Spectacular preservation of seagrasses and seagrass-associated communities from the Pliocene of Rhodes, Greece
Affiliation: Universite de Lyon I, Villeurbanne, France
Pages: 200-211
Published: 20070301
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 84
Accession Number: 2007-029109
Categories: General paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. col., 6 tables, geol. sketch map
N35°52'60" - N36°19'60", E27°45'00" - E28°13'60"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Athens, GRC, GreeceUniversite de Rennes I, FRA, France
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 200716
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