Biological Bulldozers and the Evolution of Marine Benthic Communities

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Science  02 Feb 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4379, pp. 458-461
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4379.458


During the Phanerozoic, the diversity of immobile suspension feeders living on the surface of soft substrata (ISOSS) declined significantly. Immobile taxa on hard surfaces and mobile taxa diversified. Extinction rates of ISOSS were significantly greater than in other benthos. These changes in the structure of benthic communities are attributed to increased biological disturbance of the sediment (bioturbation) by diversifying deposit feeders.

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