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Stratigraphic signatures of mass extinctions: ecological and sedimentary determinants.
Proc Biol Sci. 2018 09 12; 285(1886)PB

Abstract

Stratigraphic patterns of last occurrences (LOs) of fossil taxa potentially fingerprint mass extinctions and delineate rates and geometries of those events. Although empirical studies of mass extinctions recognize that random sampling causes LOs to occur earlier than the time of extinction (Signor-Lipps effect), sequence stratigraphic controls on the position of LOs are rarely considered. By tracing stratigraphic ranges of extant mollusc species preserved in the Holocene succession of the Po coastal plain (Italy), we demonstrated that, if mass extinction took place today, complex but entirely false extinction patterns would be recorded regionally due to shifts in local community composition and non-random variation in the abundance of skeletal remains, both controlled by relative sea-level changes. Consequently, rather than following an apparent gradual pattern expected from the Signor-Lipps effect, LOs concentrated within intervals of stratigraphic condensation and strong facies shifts mimicking sudden extinction pulses. Methods assuming uniform recovery potential of fossils falsely supported stepwise extinction patterns among studied species and systematically underestimated their stratigraphic ranges. Such effects of stratigraphic architecture, co-produced by ecological, sedimentary and taphonomic processes, can easily confound interpretations of the timing, duration and selectivity of mass extinction events. Our results highlight the necessity of accounting for palaeoenvironmental and sequence stratigraphic context when inferring extinction dynamics from the fossil record.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA rnawrot@flmnh.ufl.edu.Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy.Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy.Gerace Research Centre, University of the Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas.Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Geneseo, One College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454, USA.Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy.Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30209225

Citation

Nawrot, Rafał, et al. "Stratigraphic Signatures of Mass Extinctions: Ecological and Sedimentary Determinants." Proceedings. Biological Sciences, vol. 285, no. 1886, 2018.
Nawrot R, Scarponi D, Azzarone M, et al. Stratigraphic signatures of mass extinctions: ecological and sedimentary determinants. Proc Biol Sci. 2018;285(1886).
Nawrot, R., Scarponi, D., Azzarone, M., Dexter, T. A., Kusnerik, K. M., Wittmer, J. M., Amorosi, A., & Kowalewski, M. (2018). Stratigraphic signatures of mass extinctions: ecological and sedimentary determinants. Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 285(1886). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.1191
Nawrot R, et al. Stratigraphic Signatures of Mass Extinctions: Ecological and Sedimentary Determinants. Proc Biol Sci. 2018 09 12;285(1886) PubMed PMID: 30209225.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Stratigraphic signatures of mass extinctions: ecological and sedimentary determinants. AU - Nawrot,Rafał, AU - Scarponi,Daniele, AU - Azzarone,Michele, AU - Dexter,Troy A, AU - Kusnerik,Kristopher M, AU - Wittmer,Jacalyn M, AU - Amorosi,Alessandro, AU - Kowalewski,Michał, Y1 - 2018/09/12/ PY - 2018/05/29/received PY - 2018/08/21/accepted PY - 2018/9/14/entrez PY - 2018/9/14/pubmed PY - 2019/7/10/medline KW - Holocene KW - Signor–Lipps effect KW - mass extinction KW - sampling bias KW - sequence stratigraphy KW - stratigraphic palaeobiology JF - Proceedings. Biological sciences JO - Proc Biol Sci VL - 285 IS - 1886 N2 - Stratigraphic patterns of last occurrences (LOs) of fossil taxa potentially fingerprint mass extinctions and delineate rates and geometries of those events. Although empirical studies of mass extinctions recognize that random sampling causes LOs to occur earlier than the time of extinction (Signor-Lipps effect), sequence stratigraphic controls on the position of LOs are rarely considered. By tracing stratigraphic ranges of extant mollusc species preserved in the Holocene succession of the Po coastal plain (Italy), we demonstrated that, if mass extinction took place today, complex but entirely false extinction patterns would be recorded regionally due to shifts in local community composition and non-random variation in the abundance of skeletal remains, both controlled by relative sea-level changes. Consequently, rather than following an apparent gradual pattern expected from the Signor-Lipps effect, LOs concentrated within intervals of stratigraphic condensation and strong facies shifts mimicking sudden extinction pulses. Methods assuming uniform recovery potential of fossils falsely supported stepwise extinction patterns among studied species and systematically underestimated their stratigraphic ranges. Such effects of stratigraphic architecture, co-produced by ecological, sedimentary and taphonomic processes, can easily confound interpretations of the timing, duration and selectivity of mass extinction events. Our results highlight the necessity of accounting for palaeoenvironmental and sequence stratigraphic context when inferring extinction dynamics from the fossil record. SN - 1471-2954 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30209225/Stratigraphic_signatures_of_mass_extinctions:_ecological_and_sedimentary_determinants_ L2 - https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2018.1191?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -