The synergic relationship between physiology, ecology, and evolutionary process makes the body-size distribution (BSD) an essential component of the community ecology. Body size is highly susceptible to environmental change, and extreme upheavals, such as during a mass extinction event, could exert drastic changes on a taxon's BSD. It has been hypothesized that the Late Triassic mass extinction event (LTE) was triggered by intense global warming, linked to massive volcanic activity associated with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. We test the effects of the LTE on the BSD of fossil bivalve assemblages from three study sites spanning the Triassic/Jurassic boundary in the United Kingdom. Our results show that the effects of the LTE were rapid and synchronous across sites, and the BSDs of the bivalves record drastic changes associated with species turnover. No phylogenetic signal of size selectivity was recorded, although semi-infaunal species were apparently most susceptible to change. Each size class had the same likelihood of extinction during the LTE, which resulted in a platykurtic BSD with negative skew. The immediate postextinction assemblage exhibits a leptokurtic BSD, although with negative skew, wherein surviving species and newly appearing small-sized colonizers exhibit body sizes near the modal size. Recovery was relatively rapid (~100 kyr), and larger bivalves began to appear during the pre-Planorbis Zone, despite recurrent dysoxic/anoxic conditions. This study demonstrates how a mass extinction acts across the size spectrum in bivalves and shows how BSDs emerge from evolutionary and ecological processes.

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