Coordinated Stasis and Devonian Evolutionary Ecology of New York State
Long-term ecological and evolutionary stability is implied by our ability to recognize group-level differences in faunal composition in the stratigraphic record. The pattern of coordinated stasis is defined as long intervals of concurrent taxonomic and ecologic persistence separated by comparatively abrupt periods of biotic change, and was first described by Carl Brett and Gordon Baird based on marine faunas of the Silurian and Devonian of the Appalachian Basin. The fauna of the Middle Devonian Hamilton Group has been the type example, but discussion persists on just how stable the fauna is, and how best to assess it. Quantitative statistical analyses show that taxonomic and ecologic composition is more variable within stratigraphic horizons than between them, suggesting minimal net change through time in the assemblage. Observed stratigraphic distributions of fossils are consistent with a scenario in which all taxa are present from bottom to top of the unit, and absences result only from sampling failure. Extinction rate within the Hamilton Group is far lower than background levels for the Devonian. These results are consistent with the pattern of coordinated stasis. See Ivany et al. (2009), Brett et al. (2009).
- Carlton Brett (Cincinnati)
- John Handley (Xerox)
- Patrick Wall (Ph.D.) “Incorporating spatial datasets into paleontology: Effects on estimates of diversity, origination, and extinction.”
(*student author; †postdoc author)
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