Skip to Main Content
GEOREF RECORD

Unusually variable paleocommunity composition in the oldest metazoan fossil assemblages

Seth Finnegan, James G. Gehling and Mary L. Droser
Unusually variable paleocommunity composition in the oldest metazoan fossil assemblages
Paleobiology (May 2019) 45 (2): 235-245

Abstract

Recent excavations of Ediacaran assemblages have revealed striking bed-to-bed variation in diversity-abundance structure, offering potential insight into the ecology and taphonomy of these poorly understood early Metazoan ecosystems. Here we compare faunal variability in Ediacaran assemblages to that of younger benthic assemblages, both fossil and modern. We decompose the diversity of local assemblages into within-collection (alpha ) and among-collection (beta ) components and show that beta diversity in Ediacaran assemblages is unusually high relative to younger assemblages. Average between-bed ecological dissimilarities in the Phanerozoic fossil record are comparable to within-habitat dissimilarities typically observed over meter to kilometer scales in modern benthic marine habitats, but dissimilarities in Ediacaran assemblages are comparable to those typically observed over 10-100 km scales in modern habitats. We suggest that the unusually variable diversity-abundance structure of Ediacaran assemblages is due both to their preservation as near snapshots of benthic communities and to original ecological differences, in particular the paucity of motile taxa and the near lack of predation and infaunalization.


ISSN: 0094-8373
EISSN: 1938-5331
Coden: PALBBM
Serial Title: Paleobiology
Serial Volume: 45
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Unusually variable paleocommunity composition in the oldest metazoan fossil assemblages
Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology, Berkeley, CA, United States
Pages: 235-245
Published: 201905
Text Language: English
Publisher: Paleontological Society, Lawrence, KS, United States
References: 48
Accession Number: 2019-062062
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
S31°00'00" - S31°00'00", E138°15'00" - E138°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: South Australia Museum, AUS, AustraliaUniversity of California at Riverside, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, The Paleontological Society. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201915
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal