One of the major changes in the history of life was the decline from abundant sedentary, suspension-feeding animals living on the seafloor during the Paleozoic to their relative scarcity afterward, while animal life within the sediment burgeoned after the end-Paleozoic extinction. In the northern Adriatic Sea there is a quantitative change from abundant exposed sedentary suspension feeders in eastern oligotrophic water to their virtual absence under western higher-nutrient waters, where prolific animal life occurs within sediments. This geographic gradient supports the hypothesis that an increase in neritic nutrients drove—and continues to drive—the Paleozoic to post-Paleozoic marine ecological transition.

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