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Recovery of benthic marine communities after the end-Permian mass extinction event: a synecological approach

English title Recovery of benthic marine communities after the end-Permian mass extinction event: a synecological approach
Applicant Hautmann Michael
Number 140350
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paläontologisches Institut und Museum Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Palaeontology
Start/End 01.04.2012 - 28.02.2013
Approved amount 54'233.00
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Keywords (8)

invertebrates; mass extinction; carbon isotopes; benthos; palaeoecology; recovery; palaeoenvironments; Early Triassic

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Mass extinction events provide test-cases for studying evolutionary responses to major environmental disturbances on the global scale and over geological time. The present study analyses the recovery of benthic marine faunas after the greatest mass extinction event in Earth’s history, which occurred at the end of the Permian, ca. 250 million years ago. Based on quantitative palaeoecological data, changes in ecosystem structure over a time interval of ca. 4 million years after the extinction event will be documented and analysed in the context of environmental changes and biodiversification models. Project aims include (1) detecting links between Early Triassic environmental conditions and the palaeobiology of marine benthos, (2) analysing differences between ecosystem recovery and the re-diversification of clades, and (3) identifying evolutionary processes during the unusual conditions of a largely vacated ecospace. It is anticipated that the project results will contribute towards better understanding of the biotic and abiotic factors that controlled the diversification of life. Moreover, project data on the recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction event may serve as a proxy for ecosystems respond to global environmental changes similar to those that now are underway.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Recovery dynamics of benthic marine communities from the Lower Triassic Werfen Formation, northern Italy
Hofmann Richard, Hautmann Michael, Bucher Hugo (2015), Recovery dynamics of benthic marine communities from the Lower Triassic Werfen Formation, northern Italy, in Lethaia, 48(4), 474-496.
Recovery of benthic marine communities from the end-Permian mass extinction at the low latitudes of eastern Panthalassa
Hofmann Richard, Hautmann Michael, Brayard Arnaud, Nützel Alexander, Bylund Kevin G., Jenks James F., Vennin Emmanuelle, Olivier Nicolas, Bucher Hugo (2014), Recovery of benthic marine communities from the end-Permian mass extinction at the low latitudes of eastern Panthalassa, in Palaeontology, 57(3), 547-589.
Palaeoecology of the Spathian Virgin Formation (Utah, USA) and its implications for the Early Triassic recovery
Hofmann Richard, Hautmann Michael, Wasmer Martin, Bucher Hugo (2013), Palaeoecology of the Spathian Virgin Formation (Utah, USA) and its implications for the Early Triassic recovery, in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 58(1), 149-173.
Bivalves from the Olenekian (Early Triassic) of south-western Utah: systematics and evolutionary significance
Hautmann Michael, Smith Andrew, McGowan Alistair, Bucher H. (2012), Bivalves from the Olenekian (Early Triassic) of south-western Utah: systematics and evolutionary significance, in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, iFirst 2012, 1-31.
Olenekian (Early Triassic) bivalves from the Salt Range and Surghar Range, Pakistan
Wasmer Martin, Hautmann Michael, Hermann Elke, Ware David, Roohi Ghazala, Ur-Rehman Khalil, Yaseen Aamir, Bucher Hugo (2012), Olenekian (Early Triassic) bivalves from the Salt Range and Surghar Range, Pakistan, in PALAEONTOLOGY, 55, 1043-1073.
A new paleoecological look at the Dinwoody Formation (Lower Triassic, Western U.S.): intrinsic versus extrinsic controls on ecosystem recovery after the end-Permian mass extinction.
Hofmann Richard, Hautmann Michael, Bucher Hugo, A new paleoecological look at the Dinwoody Formation (Lower Triassic, Western U.S.): intrinsic versus extrinsic controls on ecosystem recovery after the end-Permian mass extinction., in Journal of Paleontology.
Early Triassic bivalves from Salt Range, Pakistan   
Kaim A., Nützel A., Hautmann M., Bucher H., Early Triassic bivalves from Salt Range, Pakistan   , in Bulletin of Geosciences, 88.

Awards

Title Year
Promotion "mit Auszeichnung" 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121774 Recovery of benthic marine communities after the end-Permian mass extinction event: a synecological approach 01.03.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
121774 Recovery of benthic marine communities after the end-Permian mass extinction event: a synecological approach 01.03.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
162402 The second stage of recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction: Ecology, diversity partitioning, and rank-abundance distributions in Middle Triassic marine level-bottom communities 01.08.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Mass extinction events have been a major focus of palaeontological research in the past decades, but only recently the evolutionary significance of recovery processes in the wake of such events has been recognized. Controversially discussed questions include the role of intrinsic versus environmental factors in delaying biotic recovery, possible decoupling of taxonomic and ecological recovery, and general rules of biodiversification dynamics under the unusual conditions of a largely vacated ecospace. Not unexpectedly, much of this discussion has concentrated on the biotic recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction event as the most severe crisis in the history of life, but only little field data exist to underlay or reject conflicting theories. Particularly quantitative palaeoecological data are virtually missing although they are essential in order to clarify the role of biotic interactions between re-expanding clades as well as evolutionary responses to changing environmental conditions. During the ongoing SNF project 200021-121774 (ending February 2012), quantitative palaeoecological data on Early Triassic marine benthic communities have been collected in two palaeogeographically distant areas, located at low palaeolatitudes on opposite sides of Pangaea: northern Italy (Werfen Formation) and the western USA (Dinwoody Formation, Thayes Formation and equivalents). Well-dated comparative benthic material from previous and ongoing work in Pakistan, South China, and Greenland is also incorporated. The aim of the herein requested 4th project year is completing and further extending the palaeoecological analyses for testing preliminary hypotheses obtained during the first project phase. These include hints at an unexpectedly quick recovery of benthic ecosystems and at decoupling of taxonomic diversification and ecosystem differentiation. The study finally aims at a comprehensive reconstruction of benthic ecosystem recovery after the greatest crisis in the history of life and inferring the role of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in this process.
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