Exploring biodiversity evolution in tropical seas based on comparisons of the Triassic fauna of the Cassian Formation with modern faunas

Third party funded individual grant

Project Details

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kießling

Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt

Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
Start date: 01/05/2015

Abstract (technical / expert description):

The Triassic Cassian Formation yields an exceptionally diverse marine tropical invertebrate fauna offering a largely unbiased assessment of the complexity and biodiversity of early Mesozoic ecosystems. The fauna consist of various assemblages from different localities and paleoenvironments, which vary strongly in terms of diversity and composition. Fossil preservation is usually exceptional including primary aragonite and a rich fauna of small species. Based on standardized large-scale bulk-sampling, we want to assess the true within and between community biodiversity, ecological complexity, taxonomic structure, and size distribution of Triassic tropical shallow water assemblages. Comparisons with assemblages of Recent and Quaternary tropical settings will be used to assess biological changes in diversity and complexity over more than 200 million years of evolution. By comparison with modern samples and existing datasets representing diagenetically more strongly altered (`normal´) fossil assemblages, the effect of taphonomy on preserved diversity, size distribution and ecological structure can be tested. Many of the groups, which are highly diverse in recent tropical faunas (e.g., heterodont bivalves and neogastropods) radiated not before the Cretaceous. We aim at testing if similarly diverse and ecologically dominant clades were present in the Triassic or if diversity was more evenly spread among higher taxa.


Roden, V., Hausmann, I.M., Seuß, B., Nützel, A., & Kießling, W. (2018). High diversity in the Triassic Cassian Formation. Paper presentation at GeoBonn2018, Living Earth, Bonn.
Roden, V., Kocsis, Á., Zuschin, M., & Kießling, W. (2018). Reliable estimates of beta diversity with incomplete sampling. Ecology, 99(5), 1051-1062. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2201

Last updated on 2018-22-11 at 18:41