The base of the Undulograptus austrodentatus Biozone appears to be a synchronous event that is widely recognizable within graptolitic facies around the world. It occurs within an interval in which graptolite species ranges are now well known and in which there is a rapid turnover in the composition of graptolite faunas. This turnover reflects the rapid evolutionary radiation of the Diplograptacea simultaneously with the appearance of several distinctive pseudisograptid and glossograptid species. These events provide the basis for the recognition of two thin but widely applicable subzones; a lower Arienigraptus zhejiangensis Subzone and an upper U. sinicus Subzone. The occurrence of the lower boundary of the U. austrodentatus Biozone within a succession of first appearances also permits accurate and reliable identification of the boundary as well as assessment of stratigraphic completeness across the boundary interval in correlated sections. Diverse graptolite faunas of late Yapeenian and early Darriwilian age occur in association with the Histiodella altifrons Biozone of the North American midcontinent conodont zonation and the Paroistodus originalis and Microzarkodina parva biozones of the North Atlantic conodont zonation. They also occur in association with the shelly-fossil zonations developed for several different continents. These features of the base of the U. austrodentatus Biozone make it a suitable level for use as the boundary level for a global stage. Its stratigraphic position within the Ordovician System relative to other likely global stages as well as its coincidence with one of the major events in graptolite evolutionary history suggest that this level also may be a suitable level for the base of a global Middle Ordovician Series.Ordovician System, Ordovician stages, graptolite zonation, chronostratigraphy, international correlation.

Charles E. Mitchell and Jörg Maletz, Department of Geology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14260-1550, USA; 13th July, 1994; revised 22nd May, 1995.