Abstract

A high-resolution palaeoecological study of the shelly invertebrate macrofauna across two marine Triassic–Jurassic boundary sections in the UK (St. Audrie's Bay and Lavernock Point) is presented. Loss of taxonomic richness occurs in the upper Westbury Formation to lower Lilstock Formation (late Rhaetian), but if sample size is taken into account there is little convincing evidence of a catastrophic marine extinction. There is, however, good evidence for significant palaeoecological change in the benthic marine ecosystem at this time. The immediate post-event recovery interval in the upper Lilstock Formation is characterized by assemblages of low abundance, low diversity, high dominance and low evenness. Body-sizes of taxa that survived the event and originated afterwards were low until the later Hettangian. Recovery to higher abundance, higher diversity and higher evenness is recorded in the Psiloceras planorbis Zone. Recovery of the benthic ecosystem in the aftermath of the Late Triassic event was disrupted by marine anoxia and shows additional similarities to the (much slower) recovery that followed the Late Permian event. The pattern of body-size changes recorded in the shelly fossil record closely matches that of the trace fossil record. Shell thickness trends do not support a biocalcification crisis during the Late Triassic biotic event.

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