Micropalaeontological and chemostratigraphic results from the mid-Cretaceous ‘upper siliceous zone’ of the Ionian zone, studied in two localities of NW Greece (Paliambela and Panaya), provide new insights into the palaeoceanographic evolution of Tethys and better correlation with well-studied Italian successions. δ13C carbonate and organic-carbon isotope stratigraphy allows an improved correlation of the early Aptian Fourcade Level with Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a. Calcareous nannofossils point to intervals of reduced sedimentation within the late Aptian part of the limestones overlying the Fourcade Level. Combined calcareous nannofossil, radiolarian and planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy suggests that the overlying radiolarites (named herein the ‘Dercourt Member’) are essentially mid-Albian in age. Radiolarites of this age and thickness have not been identified in the well-explored Italian sections or in southern Albania. It is therefore likely that the Dercourt radiolarites reflect a high-productivity event localized in the Greek area of the Ionian zone, possibly caused by a bathymetrically induced upwelling of intermediate to deep waters that entered the Ionian trough following the opening of new oceanic gateways in the Eastern Mediterranean Tethys.