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Transient metazoan reefs in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction


Brayard, A; Vennin, E; Olivier, N; Bylund, K G; Jenks, J; Stephen, D A; Bucher, H; Hofmann, R; Goudemand, N; Escarguel, G (2011). Transient metazoan reefs in the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction. Nature geoscience, 4(10):693-697 + S.I..

Abstract

Recovery from the devastating Permian–Triassic mass extinction about 252 million years ago is usually assumed to have spanned the entire 5 million years of the Early Triassic epoch1, 2. The post-crisis interval was characterized by large-scale fluctuations of the global carbon cycle and harsh marine conditions, including a combination of ocean acidification, euxinia, and fluctuating productivity3. During this interval, metazoan-dominated reefs are thought to have been replaced by microbial deposits that are considered the hallmark of the Early Triassic4, 5, 6, 7. Here we use field and microscopic investigations to document Early Triassic bioaccumulations and reefs from the western USA that comprise of various sponges and serpulids associated with microbialites and other eukaryotic benthic organisms. These metazoan-rich reefs were formed only 1.5 million years after the extinction, in contrast to previous suggestions of a much delayed recovery of complex benthic communities. We conclude that the predominance of microbial reefs following the mass extinction is restricted to short intervals of the earliest Triassic. We suggest that metazoan reef building continued throughout the Early Triassic wherever permitted by environmental conditions.

Recovery from the devastating Permian–Triassic mass extinction about 252 million years ago is usually assumed to have spanned the entire 5 million years of the Early Triassic epoch1, 2. The post-crisis interval was characterized by large-scale fluctuations of the global carbon cycle and harsh marine conditions, including a combination of ocean acidification, euxinia, and fluctuating productivity3. During this interval, metazoan-dominated reefs are thought to have been replaced by microbial deposits that are considered the hallmark of the Early Triassic4, 5, 6, 7. Here we use field and microscopic investigations to document Early Triassic bioaccumulations and reefs from the western USA that comprise of various sponges and serpulids associated with microbialites and other eukaryotic benthic organisms. These metazoan-rich reefs were formed only 1.5 million years after the extinction, in contrast to previous suggestions of a much delayed recovery of complex benthic communities. We conclude that the predominance of microbial reefs following the mass extinction is restricted to short intervals of the earliest Triassic. We suggest that metazoan reef building continued throughout the Early Triassic wherever permitted by environmental conditions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:02 Dec 2011 09:20
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:13
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1752-0894
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1264
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52551

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