, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 411–424 | Cite as

Pleistocene mollusc assemblage in the slightly raised atoll lagoon of Niau (Tuamotu, French Polynesia)

  • Bernard SalvatEmail author
  • Jean Tröndlé
  • Jean Letourneux
Research Paper


Surveys conducted at Niau, a slightly raised atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago, revealed a brackish community with only a few extant species of fishes, crustaceans and molluscs in the residual semi-enclosed lagoon. Dredging of superficial sediments near the Niau lagoon resulted in a rich shell mollusc assemblage with 120 species, dating from the Pleistocene Last Interglacial Maximum (120,000 years BP). The assemblage contains 3 previously described new species, collected nowhere else since, and 12 species locally extinct but extant in the Indo-Pacific. Results are compared with previous studies on Pleistocene reefs of the Indo-Pacific.


Marine molluscs Pleistocene Biogeography Atoll Lagoon 


Studien die auf Niau – einem leicht gehobenem Atoll innerhalb des Tuamotu-Archipels – durchgeführt wurden, zeigten eine Brackwasser-Gemeinschaft mit nur wenigen heute noch lebenden Arten von Fischen, Crustaceen und Mollusken in der restlichen halbgeschlossenen Lagune an. Baggergut der Oberflächen-Sedimente nahe der Niau-Lagune erbrachte eine reichhaltige Molluskengemeinschaft mit 120 Arten aus dem letzten Interglazial-Maximum (Pleistozän; 120.000 Jahre vor heute). Darunter drei vorläufig beschriebene neue Arten, die nirgendwoanders bekannt sind, sowie 12 Arten die zwar aus dem Indo-Pazifik nachgewiesen, lokal jedoch ausgestorben sind. Unsere Ergebnisse wurden mit vorangegangenen Untersuchungen an Pleistozän-Riffen des Indo-Pazifiks verglichen.


Marine Mollusken Pleistozän Biogeographie Atoll Lagune 



We thank the local authorities and inhabitants of Niau atoll for allowing sample collection under the coordination of one of the authors (JL). We also thank the following for their support: Norbert Frank (Laboratory of Climate Sciences and the Environment, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Paris Orsay) for 14C dating, and Anton Eisenhauer (Laboratory GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany) for U/Th dating of shells. We extend thanks to Lucien Montaggioni and Gilbert Camoin (Aix-Marseille University) for their advice, and Jeffrey T. Williams (Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD, USA) for identification of Bathygobius. This work was made possible thanks to the 2014 contribution by the Department of the Environment, French Polynesia; for this Miri Tatarata is gratefully acknowledged. We are also very grateful to Clive Wilkinson and Jeanine Almany for help editing our text in English. We thank two reviewers, Alan J. Kohn (Department of Biology, University of Washington, WA, USA) and Gustav Paulay (Florida Museum of Natural History, Dickinson, FL, USA) for comments and recommendations, as well as Martin Zuschin (Associate Editor) and Mike Reich (Editor-in-Chief); their comments have been appreciated and have greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Paläontologische Gesellschaft 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Salvat
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean Tröndlé
    • 2
  • Jean Letourneux
    • 3
  1. 1.PSL EPHE-CNRS-UPVD, USR 3278, Récifs coralliens, Laboratoire d’Excellence CORAILUniversité de PerpignanPerpignan CedexFrance
  2. 2.Museum national d’Histoire Naturelle de ParisParisFrance
  3. 3.MahinaFrench Polynesia

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