Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Epifauna-Dominated Benthic Shelf Assemblages: Lessons from the Modern Adriatic sea

Martin Zuschin and Michael Stachowitsch
PALAIOS
Vol. 24, No. 3/4 (Mar. - Apr., 2009), pp. 211-221
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27670597
Page Count: 11
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Epifauna-Dominated Benthic Shelf Assemblages: Lessons from the Modern Adriatic sea
Preview not available

Abstract

It has recently been proposed that the northern Adriatic shelf is a living laboratory in which to test the causes of the evolutionary shift from Paleozoic-like, stationary suspension feeders on the sediment surface to modern, infauna-dominated assemblages. The suggestion is that today's "Paleozoic" ecosystems, composed of a modern fauna, are a regular feature in environments of low nutrient levels and predation intensity. We, however, argue that a high-biomass epifauna is not restricted to oligotrophic settings in the northern Adriatic Sea and that predation intensities are instead at Mediterranean levels, which are neither pre-Cenozoic nor similar to those at high latitudes. Environmental requirements of modern, suspension-feeding epifauna do not support the low-nutrient hypothesis, and we suggest that this striking epifauna depends on the presence of stable hard substrata on the seafloor, is very sensitive to sediment input by flood events and storm-induced sediment resuspension, and is related to seasonally high productivity. Elevation above the sediment-water interface has the advantage of feeding from higher-tier levels and helps these organisms to survive hypoxia, which is a typical seasonal feature of the Adriatic shelf and of many ancient epeiric seas. We hypothesize therefore that the gradual disapperance of large, epicontinental seas, along with their low sedimentation rates and frequent bottom-water hypoxia during the Mesozoic, supported the replacement of the archaic epifauna by modern, bivalve-dominated infaunas.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[211]
    [211]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
212
    212
  • Thumbnail: Page 
213
    213
  • Thumbnail: Page 
214
    214
  • Thumbnail: Page 
215
    215
  • Thumbnail: Page 
216
    216
  • Thumbnail: Page 
217
    217
  • Thumbnail: Page 
218
    218
  • Thumbnail: Page 
219
    219
  • Thumbnail: Page 
220
    220
  • Thumbnail: Page 
221
    221