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The fossil record of coastal coccolithophores

Bown, P; Young, J; (2019) The fossil record of coastal coccolithophores. Journal of Nannoplankton Research (Sp 4) pp. 73-80. Green open access

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Abstract

Modern coastal environments support low diversity communities of eurytopic coccolithophore species but also non-oceanic, coastal taxa, which are often small and weakly calcified. Our understanding of palaeo-coastal coccolithophores is limited by the infrequent study of shallowwater sediments, first, because they provide only stratigraphically-incomplete records and second, because they typically contain poorly-preserved fossils, sometimes reworked fossils, or none at all. The geological past, however, was characterized by higher sea-levels than present and so sediments from vast, non-analogue epicontinental seaways form the basis for a significant proportion of Mesozoic and Paleogene coccolithophores studies. These reveal clear distinctions between neritic and oceanic coccolithophorid assemblages, which is particularly evident in the distribution of large and highly distinctive braarudosphaerids and nannoconids, but also noncoccolith fossils such as Lithostromation, calcareous dinoflagellates (calcispheres) and ascidian spicules. Like modern coastal coccolithophorid assemblages, the ancient examples tend to be dominated by opportunistic or stenotypic species, the watznauerids in the Mesozoic and noelaerhabdids in the Cenozoic. Despite the relatively poor record of fossil coastal taxa it has, nevertheless, become apparent that they played a disproportionately significant role in the evolutionary history of the group, with several extant species among the handful which survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event and forming the basis for recolonization and diversification in the ocean realm.

Type: Article
Title: The fossil record of coastal coccolithophores
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ina.tmsoc.org/JNR/JNRcontents.htm
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: coastal, neritic, coccolithophores, calcareous nannofossils
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069397
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