Abstract

Givetian, Frasnian and Famennian limestones from southern China contain microfossils generally regarded as calcified algae and cyanobacteria. These are present in 61 out of 253 sampled horizons in four sections from three widely spaced localities in Guangxi and southern Guizhou. Three of the sections sampled are Givetian-Frasnian-Famennian; one section is Frasnian-Famennian. They include reef and non-reef carbonates of shallow marine platform facies. The following taxa are identified with differing degrees of confidence, and placed in algae, cyanobacteria or microproblematica. Algae: Halysis, ‘solenoporaceans’, Vermiporella. Cyanobacteria: Bevocastria, Girvanella, Hedstroemia, Subtifloria. Microproblematica: ?Chabakovia, Garwoodia, ?Issinella, Izhella, Paraepiphyton, Rothpletzella, Shuguria, ?Stenophycus, Tharama, Wetheredella. As a whole, the abundance of algae, cyanobacteria and microproblematica increases by 34% from Givetian to Frasnian, and declines by 63% in the Famennian. This secular pattern of marked Famennian decrease does not support recognition of them as “disaster forms” in the immediate aftermath of late Frasnian extinction. Nonetheless, their survival into the Famennian could indicate tolerance of environmental stress, independence of changes in food supply, morphologic plasticity, and ability to occupy a range of habitats and depths. Uncertainties concerning the affinities of the problematic taxa hinder assessment of their significance.

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