Marine Ostracod Provinciality in the Late Ordovician of Palaeocontinental Laurentia and Its Environmental and Geographical Expression
2012-10-24T08:57:22Z (GMT) by
Background: We examine the environmental, climatic and geographical controls on tropical ostracod distribution in the marine Ordovician of North America. Methodology/Principal Findings: Analysis of the inter-regional distribution patterns of Ordovician Laurentian ostracods, focussing particularly on the diverse Late Ordovician Sandbian (ca 461 to 456 Ma) faunas, demonstrates strong endemicity at the species-level. Local endemism is very pronounced, ranging from 25% (e.g. Foxe basin) to 75% (e.g. Michigan basin) in each basin, a pattern that is also reflected in other benthic faunas such as brachiopods. Multivariate (ordination) analyses of the ostracod faunas allow demarcation of a Midcontinent Province and a southern Marginal Province in Laurentia. While these are most clearly differentiated at the stratigraphical level of the bicornis graptolite biozone, analyses of the entire dataset suggest that these provinces remain distinct throughout the Sandbian interval. Differences in species composition between the provinces appear to have been controlled by changes in physical parameters (e.g. temperature and salinity) related to water depth and latitude and a possible regional geographic barrier, and these differences persist into the Katian and possibly the Hirnantian. Local environmental parameters, perhaps operating at the microhabitat scale, may have been significant in driving local speciation events from ancestor species in each region. Conclusions/Significance: Our work establishes a refined methodology for assessing marine benthic arthropod micro-benthos provinciality for the Early Palaeozoic.