Persistent ecological shifts in marine molluscan assemblages across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

Journal article


Publication Details

Author(s): Kießling W, Aberhan M, Kiessling W
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Publication year: 2015
Volume: 112
Journal issue: 23
Pages range: 7207-7212
ISSN: 0027-8424
eISSN: 1091-6490


Abstract


Contemporary biodiversity loss and population declines threaten to push the biosphere toward a tipping point with irreversible effects on ecosystem composition and function. As a potential example of a global-scale regime shift in the geological past, we assessed ecological changes across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction based on molluscan assemblages at four well-studied sites. By contrasting preextinction and postextinction rank abundance and numerical abundance in 19 molluscan modes of life-each defined as a unique combination of mobility level, feeding mode, and position relative to the substrate-we find distinct shifts in ecospace utilization, which significantly exceed predictions from null models. The magnitude of change in functional traits relative to normal temporal fluctuations at far-flung sites indicates that molluscan assemblages shifted to differently structured systems and faunal response was global. The strengths of temporal ecological shifts, however, are mostly within the range of preextinction site-to-site variability, demonstrating that local ecological turnover was similar to geographic variation over a broad latitudinal range. In conjunction with varied site-specific temporal patterns of individual modes of life, these spatial and temporal heterogeneities argue against a concerted phase shift of molluscan assemblages from one well-defined regime to another. At a broader ecological level, by contrast, congruent tendencies emerge and suggest deterministic processes. These patterns comprise the well-known increase of deposit-feeding mollusks in postextinction assemblages and increases in predators and predator-resistant modes of life, i.e., those characterized by elevated mobility and infaunal life habits.



FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Kießling, Wolfgang Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Paläoumwelt


External institutions
Museum für Naturkunde


How to cite

APA:
Kießling, W., Aberhan, M., & Kiessling, W. (2015). Persistent ecological shifts in marine molluscan assemblages across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(23), 7207-7212. https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1422248112

MLA:
Kießling, Wolfgang, Martin Aberhan, and Wolfgang Kiessling. "Persistent ecological shifts in marine molluscan assemblages across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.23 (2015): 7207-7212.

BibTeX: 

Last updated on 2018-11-08 at 00:39