Coastal mixed carbonate-siliciclastic and carbonate deposits of Late Barremian to Early Aptian age from the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal) are compared with a deep-sea succession (ODP 641) off the coast of Portugal. The coastal deposits show an abrupt cessation of rudist-dominated carbonate deposition marked by an emersion horizon and followed by the deposition of orbitolinid-rich marls during the Early Aptian. The subsequent development of the carbonate platform during the Late Aptian is masked by a hiatus. For this time interval shallow-water debris deposits of the deep-sea succession ODP 641 indicate that carbonate production in shallow-water areas resume in the early Late Aptian. Carbon-isotope stratigraphy in combination with available biostratigraphic data is used for intrabasinal correlation and for the correlation of the Portuguese with shallow-water successions from Switzerland, France, Oman and the Pacific. The correlation reveals that during the Early Aptian similar changes in their sedimentary patterns occur at the beginning of a marked negative shift of carbon-isotope values associated with the global deposition of organic rich black shales in the deep sea (OAE 1a). In all compared sections rudist-dominated carbonate deposition is stopped and followed either by orbitolinid-rich deposits, the deposition of microbial carbonates or by the drowning of the carbonate platform. The comparison shows that the deterioration for carbonate platform growth conditions during the Early Aptian occurred essentially simultaneously at the various localities. During this episode the ocean waters were in a preconditioned state of acidification stressing biocalcifying organisms. Sea level change combined with local effects like elevated nutrient levels and higher temperatures, were probably determining the nature of sedimentary change in shallow-water environments during the carbonate crisis. In the sections studied in Portugal the high abundance of orbitolinids overlying rudist limestones indicates that increased nutrient input may have played an important local role among the factors that caused an overall deterioration for carbonate producers during the late Early Aptian.