Senckenbergiana lethaea

, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 37–46

A review of the Carboniferous colonisation of non-marine environments by ostracods

  • Carys Bennett

DOI: 10.1007/BF03043976

Cite this article as:
Bennett, C. Senckenbergiana lethaea (2008) 88: 37. doi:10.1007/BF03043976


This review examines the nature and chronology of the transition of ostracods from marine to non-marine aquatic environments in the Devonian and Carboniferous. There is putative evidence of ostracods in brackish waters from the middle Silurian, but more robust evidence from the Devonian. The first putative freshwater ostracods are species of the generaCarbonita andGeisina which are found in the early to middle Carboniferous Coal Measures. Freshwater ostracods are common in the middle Pennsylvanian Coal Measures of late Carboniferous age, with species of genera such asDarwinula, Carbonita, Candona andCypridopsis. The Lower Carboniferous Visean succession from the Midland Valley of Scotland provides a unique range of sedimentary environments from marine to non-marine, and a diverse range of ostracods and macrofauna. It is an ideal sequence to study the radiation of the Ostracoda from marine to non-marine realms. Non-marine species ofCarbonita are found in the lower Viséan, associated with spirorbids,Naiadites, Estheria, plant and fish fragments. Marginal marine species include the generaGeisina, Parapar-chites, Sbemonaella andCapellina, all of which are eurytopic. The first non-marine environments occupied by ostracods were near the shoreline, and influenced by marine transgressions. The adaptations needed to survive in freshwater or low salinities would have included changes in osmoregulation, feeding, and reproductive strategies such as parthenogenesis, to enable opportunistic colonisation of temporary freshwater habitats such as seasonal pools.

Key words

Ostracoda non-marine colonisation Carboniferous palaeoenvironment 

Copyright information

© E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carys Bennett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK