Lateral variations of size-frequency distribution in a fossil echinoid community and their palaeoecological significance
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2007
Volume 24, Issue 3, pages 299–309, July 1991
How to Cite
NERAUDEAU, D. (1991), Lateral variations of size-frequency distribution in a fossil echinoid community and their palaeoecological significance. Lethaia, 24: 299–309. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.1991.tb01481.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 9 OCT 2007
- received 15th October, 1990. revised typescript accepted 4th March. 1991.
The analysis of size-frequency spatial distribution of three species of Cenomanian echinoids in a single fossil assemblage shows both intraspecific and interspecific horizontal segregation of the individuals parallel to the variations in silt and organic matter levels of the substrate. The exceptional preservation of echinoids. fossilized in the living position with part of their spines. and their multimodal size-frequency distribution, with no evidence of physical transportation. suggest that a catastrophic event resulted in the fossilization of the demographic structure of the populations. The assemblage. being the result of mass mortality of a community, corresponds to a census assemblage. Thus the patchy segregation of echinoids could not primarily be influenced by size-selective taphonomy (current winnowing, biological or mechanical destruction) but more likely determined by biological phcnomena like mortality and recruitment patterns, high juvenile growth, substrate selection and herd mode of life. Recent examples of spatial separation of adults and juveniles. given for different species of echinoids. show that these patchy distributions are widespread, and therefore may be a privileged source of fossil preservation of cohort's size-frequency distribution in catastrophic mortality. □Palaeoecology, size-frequency distribution, demography, echinoids. spatangoids, cassiduloids, Mecaster, Catopygus, Nucleopygus.