• Biogeography;
  • Bryozoa;
  • Endemism;
  • Eocene;
  • South Australia

The first extensive and stratigraphically detailed taxonomic study of the Middle to Late Eocene Bryozoa of the St Vincent Basin has identified more than 200 species of Cheilostomata and 50 species of Cyclostomata. There are three biogeographic groups: basin endemic, Australian and global. Two-thirds (116) of the cheilostome species and seven genera are currently considered endemic to this basin. Most species are endemic to Australia and similar to those found in the Oligo-Miocene of Victoria. The Cellariidae are a common component of most Australian Cainozoic deposits, but the species are highly dissimilar, with 13 of the 17 species here being new. The global component indicates that biogeographic links with regions outside Australia still existed in the Eocene. The cyclostome genus Reticrescis is only known from the Australian and Antarctic Eocene. Ten genera have their first occurrence in the Eocene St Vincent Basin. The Phidoloporidae and Smittinidae represent the most diverse and ubiquitous groups at a geological time close to their time of origination. Contemporaneous sediments in Antarctica, eastern Europe and North America also have a diverse fauna of this family, pointing to a strong Tethyan link. Rhamphosmittina lateralis (MacGillivray) is still extant in New Zealand, having an exceptionally long time range of 40 million years. Overall, the fauna has a distinct Late Cretaceous character. A new genus of Onychocellidae appears similar to genera that were common in Cretaceous Tethyan faunas but rare during the Cainozoic. This similarity ends in the Oligocene, after which the Australian bryozoan became endemic