• Acritarchs;
  • Lower Ordovician;
  • Baltica;
  • South China;
  • Perigondwana;
  • Lower Arenig;
  • Billingen

Billingen (Lower Arenig/Lower Ordovician) sediments of the St. Petersburg region, northwest Russia and the Leba area, northern Poland of the East European Craton yield acritarch assemblages, which are largely homogenous though displaying minor compositional differences that probably reflect a gradient from inner to outer shelf environments. Comparison with coeval acritarch microflora from the Yangtze Platform, South China, shows an overall similarity between Baltoscandian and South Chinese phytoplankton. The widespread uniformity in the fossil microphytoplankton may be related to the extensive global ‘evae’ sea-level transgression, which characterized the Billingen time. This suggests that during the Tremadoc through early Arenig times, acritarch assemblages displayed essentially an undifferentiated cold-water and oceanic character along the whole margin of Perigondwana in the South, as well as on the South Chinese and Baltic platforms, at middle latitudes (Mediterranean oceanic Realm). Despite this overall similarity, however, some typical taxa of the high-latitude Mediterranean Province (Arbusculidium, Coryphidium and Striatotheca) occur in South China, but are absent in Baltica. This discrepancy is explained as caused by differences in climatic and physiographic conditions that prevailed at the two palaeocontinents at this time. The inferred pattern of oceanic circulation during the Lower Ordovician is consistent with the palynological evidence of a prevailing warmer climate in Baltica than in South China, although the two palaeocontinents occupied the same palaeolatitudinal position.