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Skeletal mineralogy and biodiversity of marine invertebrates: size matters more than seawater chemistry

Cherns, Lesley and Wright, Victor Paul 2011. Skeletal mineralogy and biodiversity of marine invertebrates: size matters more than seawater chemistry. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 358 (1) , pp. 9-17. 10.1144/SP358.2

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It is now well established that seawater chemistry, as well as influencing non-skeletal marine precipitation (‘calcite’ and ‘aragonite seas’), has affected skeletal mineral secretion in some algal and marine invertebrate groups. Skeletal mineralogy has had a yet more profound consequence on fossil preservation. The realization that the fossil record of marine organisms with an aragonite shell is widely depleted in some shelf settings through early, effectively syn-depositional, dissolution (‘missing molluscs’ effect) has led to a re-evaluation of the composition, diversity, ecological and trophic structure of marine benthic communities. Comparisons of molluscan lagerstätten from ‘calcite’ and ‘aragonite seas’ show a similar pattern of skeletal mineralogical loss, that is, no differences are discernibly linked to changed seawater geochemistry. It is notable that the rare mollusc-rich skeletal lagerstätten faunas in the fossil record include many small individuals. Micromolluscs are quantitatively important among modern shell assemblages, yet small size is a major source of taphonomic and biodiversity loss in the fossil record. In skeletal lagerstätten faunas, micromolluscs contribute variably to mollusc biodiversity but appear particularly significant through at least to Triassic times. They highlight a further ‘missing molluscs’ effect of taphonomic loss through early dissolution.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Geological Society
ISSN: 0305-8719
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:57

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