Biodiversity curves for the Ordovician of Baltoscandia



Biodiversity curves for the Ordovician of Baltoscandia show a substantial increase in taxonomical diversity through the period, as seen also in global data sets. A database of 10,340 records of first and last appearances of species at different localities in the region has been analysed using simple species counts, and partly validated with resampling methods. While the biodiversity curve for all fossil groups combined is probably reasonably accurate except for an unknown scaling constant, taxonomical or geographical subsets may not be sufficiently well sampled to allow precise measurement of their species counts through time. The analysis shows a major diversification event commencing in the middle Arenig (Ibex-Whiterock boundary), and more limited diversification events in the Llanvirn, Caradoc and Ashgill. The Scandinavian (Norwegian and Swedish) biodiversity curves are broadly correlated with major changes in sea level, with low biodiversity at highstands and high biodiversity at lowstands, although this pattern is not clear for all fossil groups. In the Arenig, graptolites and trilobites appear to have higher diversities at high sea levels, while the brachiopods and ostracodes show higher diversities at low sea level. As a consequence, the Arenig diversification is delayed for the latter two groups until the upper end of the interval.