The sedimentary-stratigraphic record is regularly considered only in the context of regional climate, tectonic configuration, and sea-level. In this study we provide examples of how biotically influenced autogenic processes may come to be overprinted on these extrinsic, allogenic controls. A sedimentological analysis is given for the Mississippian (Visean) siliciclastic strata which crop out in counties Donegal and Mayo in NW Ireland. Eleven sedimentary facies record deposition of dominantly clastic and humic organic sediments which accumulated in alluvial, fluvial, estuarine, and fully marine environments. The preserved architecture of the sedimentary deposits is shown to be dependent on local autogenic dynamics, processes that were in turn modified or entirely controlled by biota (“biosphere signatures”). Sedimentological criteria, specifically the type and distribution of preserved biosphere signatures, suggests deposition occurred in a dominantly wet, humid environment in keeping with Laurussia's proposed equatorial position but potentially at odds with previous suggestions of seasonal aridity. The humid climate and resultant perennially active water conduits facilitated the widespread preservation of inclined heterolithic stratification (IHS). Allogenic and autogenic processes are ultimately linked, with external factors such as sea-level, tectonics, and climate all impacting the spatial distribution, abundance and prevailing forms of biota. The flooding of the Laurussian continent is accompanied by a shift from plant-induced to animal-induced biosphere signatures basinwards of the estuary funnel. In this way, the interplay between allogenic and autogenic processes is recorded at sedimentary outcrop through the capacity of extrinsic forcings to influence the rates and locations of intrinsic life-sediment interactions.

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