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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

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Publication details for Professor David Harper

Huang, Bing, Harper, David A.T., Rong, Jiayu & Zhan, Renbin (2017). Brachiopod faunas after the end Ordovician mass extinction from South China: Testing ecological change through a major taxonomic crisis. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 138: 502-514.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Classification of extinction events and their severity is generally based on taxonomic counts. The ecological impacts of such events have been categorized and prioritized but rarely tested with empirical data. The ecology of the end Ordovician extinction and subsequent biotic recovery is tracked through abundant and diverse brachiopod faunas in South China. The spatial and temporal ranges of some 6500 identified specimens, from 10 collections derived from six localities were investigated by network and cluster analyses, nonmetric multidimensional scaling and a species abundance model. Depth zonations and structure of brachiopod assemblages along an onshore-offshore gradient in the late Katian were similar to those in the latest Ordovician–earliest Silurian (post–extinction fauna). Within this ecological framework, deeper-water faunas are partly replaced by new taxa; siliciclastic substrates continued to be dominated by the more ‘Ordovician’ orthides and strophomenides, shallow-water carbonate environments hosted atrypides, athyridides and pentamerides, with the more typical Ordovician brachiopod fauna continuing to dominate until the late Rhuddanian. The end Ordovician extinctions tested the resilience of the brachiopod fauna without damage to its overall ecological structure; that commenced later at the end of the Rhuddanian.