Onshore-Offshore Patterns in the Evolution of Phanerozoic Shelf Communities

Science  09 Dec 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4628, pp. 1123-1125
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4628.1123


Cluster analysis of Cambrian-Ordovician marine benthic communities and community-trophic analysis of Late Cretaceous shelf faunas indicate that major ecological innovations appeared in nearshore environments and then expanded outward across the shelf at the expense of older community types. This onshoreinnovation, offshore-archaic evolutionary pattern is surprising in light of the generally, higher species turnover rates of offshore clades. This pattern probably results from differential extinction rates of onshore as compared to offshore clades, or from differential origination rates of new ecological associations or evolutionary novelties in nearshore environments.

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