Palaeozoic calcareous plankton: Evidence from the Silurian of Gotland

Munnecke A, Servais T (2008)

Publication Language: English

Publication Status: Published

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2008


Book Volume: 41

Pages Range: 185-194

Journal Issue: 2


DOI: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2008.00113.x


In order to investigate whether or not equivalents to modern calcareous plankton existed in Palaeozoic times, extremely well-preserved successions have to be investigated. The Silurian strata on Gotland (Sweden) are exceptionally well preserved because they have not experienced deep burial conditions and tectonic stress, due to their position on the stable Baltic Shield. Scanning electron microscope investigations of polished, slightly etched rock surfaces revealed the presence of a variety of calcareous micro- and nannofossils. Among these organisms, many can be termed 'calcispheres' (60-100 μm in diameter), whereas others due to their size range (nannofossils) are informally termed herein as 'nannospheres' (10-25 μm in diameter). The systematic attribution of these fossils is unknown (incertae sedis). Mesozoic calcispheres are usually attributed to calcareous cysts of dinoflagellates following comparisons of ultrastructure with modern species. The abundance of different calcispheres in the Silurian sediments of Gotland and the observation that many of the calcareous microfossils occur in distinctly different facies as well as their spherical shape indicate that they probably belong to calcareous micro- and nannoplankton. We therefore conclude that calcareous plankton most probably existed already during the Palaeozoic, but can only be observed under conditions of exceptional preservation. © 2008 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2008 The Lethaia Foundation.

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Munnecke, A., & Servais, T. (2008). Palaeozoic calcareous plankton: Evidence from the Silurian of Gotland. Lethaia, 41(2), 185-194.


Munnecke, Axel, and Thomas Servais. "Palaeozoic calcareous plankton: Evidence from the Silurian of Gotland." Lethaia 41.2 (2008): 185-194.

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