Abstract Barremian and Aptian shallow-water carbonate facies (uppermost Lekhwair, Kharaib and Shuaiba Formations) are described from outcrops in northern Oman. Based on facies analysis and bedding pattern, three orders of depositional sequences are defined (third to fifth order) and correlated between sections. Over the course of three third-order sequences, covering the Barremian to Lower Aptian, a third-order depositional pattern is documented that consists of a succession of three distinct faunal assemblages: discoidal orbitolinids and calcareous algae were deposited during early transgression; microbialites and microencrusters dominate the late transgressive to early highstand facies; and a rudist- and miliolid-dominated facies is typical of the highstand. This ecological succession was controlled largely by palaeoenvironmental changes, such as trophic level and clay influx, rather than sedimentological factors controlled by variations in accommodation space. Orbitolinid beds and carbonates formed by microbialites and microencrusters seem to be the shallow-water carbonate response to global changes affecting Late Barremian to Aptian palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography.