Abstract

Models presented here of shallow-marine siliciclastic deposition show that the widths of depth-defined regions differ markedly in response to sea-level change. These models add to recent studies that have emphasized the highly specific response of habitat area to sea-level change. Collectively, these studies indicate that a particular bathymetric zone on a particular margin may vary substantially in area during a sea-level change, while other such zones and margins may experience little or even opposite responses. In the models presented here, intermediate-depth and deep-water regions tend to show sinusoidal variations in width, with widening during relative falls in sea level and narrowing during relative rises. The shallow-water region displays markedly non-sinusoidal change and is consistently characterized by abrupt widening at the beginning of the highstand systems tract and an equally abrupt narrowing at the onset of sea-level fall at the beginning of the falling-stage systems tract. These onshore-offshore differences in how width and area change with sea level may explain why taxa in shallow-water settings tend to be more abundant, eurytopic, and widespread than those in deeper-water settings. Likewise, these models suggest that the evolution of novelty in nearshore habitats may be a response to wide variation in shallow-marine area during sea-level change.

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