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Micritic sediments containing dark, discrete, organic-rich burrows, situated in a light grey background carbonate mud, were deposited over a broad geographical area in deep-shelf, bathyal and basinal environments in the western margin of the Tethys Ocean during the Early and Middle Jurassic. These hemipelagic deposits represent a distinct depositional regime marked by low-energy, soft-bottom and only locally dysoxic environments. Still, it is unclear whether the trace-fossil assemblages occurring in these deposits pertain to a network of several community types – the ichnotaxa differing from basin to basin – or to a single community of environmentally broad-ranging, burrow-producing species. Lower Jurassic trace-fossil assemblages are found in the Western Carpathians and in the Subbetic, Betic Cordillera: that is, in basins separated by more than 2000 km in their original palaeogeographical areas. The stereotypical Chondrites and Zoophycos trace-fossil assemblages that occur in the analysed deposits share two ichnogenera of distinctive morphology (Lamellaeichnus and Teichichnus). Agglutinated foraminifera Bathysiphon occurs together with the described trace-fossil assemblage and determines the epibenthic palaeoenvironmental conditions. In the Western Carpathians, a Lamellaeichnus-dominated assemblage alternates with a Zoophycos-dominated assemblage in small, metre-scale cycles in the upper Pliensbachian, and the proportion of the Zoophycos assemblage increases stratigraphically upwards, probably owing to reduced basin ventilation during the early Toarcian. Within the southern Iberian palaeomargin, represented by the Betic Cordillera, Zoophycos is scarce in the facies.

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