We analyze relationships among a range of ecological and biological traits—geographic range size, body size, life mode, larval type, and feeding type—in order to identify those traits that are associated significantly with species duration in New Zealand Cenozoic marine molluscs, during a time of background extinction. Using log-linear modeling, we find that bivalves have only a small number of simple, two-way associations between the studied traits and duration. In contrast, gastropods display more complex interactions involving three-way associations between traits, a pattern that suggests greater macroecological complexity of gastropods. This is not an artifact caused by the larger number of gastropods than bivalves in our data set. We used stratified randomized resampling of families to test for associations between traits that might result from shared inheritance rather than ecological trait interactions; we found no evidence of phylogenetic effects in any associations examined. The relationships revealed by our study should serve to constrain the range of possible biological mechanisms that underlie these relationships. As previously observed, two-way associations are present between large geographic range and increased duration, and between large geographic range and large body size, in both bivalves and gastropods. In gastropods, planktotrophic larval type is associated with large range size through a three-way interaction that also involves duration; there is no direct association of larval type and geographic range. Gastropods also display two-way associations between duration and life mode, and duration and feeding type. We note that in gastropods, an infaunal life mode is associated with large range size, whereas in bivalves infaunality is associated with reduced range size.

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