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Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp 117–127 | Cite as

Ostracods from the Devonian-Carboniferous transition in Dushan of Guizhou, South China

  • Junjun SongEmail author
  • Yiming Gong
Short Communication

Abstract

Thirty-seven ostracod species belonging to 25 genera from the Devonian-Carboniferous (D/C) transition in Dushan of Guizhou, South China are identified and figured. The stratigraphical distribution of ostracods in the Baihupo section suggests that the D/C boundary should be fixed in the basal part of the Tangbagou Formation, which is also the boundary between Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations. The ostracod assemblages from the Gelaohe Formation belong to the Eifelian Mega-Assemblage, incorporating palaeocopid and smooth-podocopid associations, which implies a nearshore-offshore palaeoenvironment, while the ecological assemblages of ostracods from the Tangbagou Formation correspond to a smooth-podocopid association that indicates an offshore palaeoenvironment. There was probably a transgression during the D/C transition when Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations were being deposited in Dushan of Guizhou.

Keywords

Ostracods Devonian-Carboniferous boundary Palaeoecology Guizhou South China 

Introduction

Ostracods are one of the most widespread and diverse group of crustaceans since the Early Ordovician with plentiful fossil species (Horne et al. 2002; Siveter 2008). Devonian and Carboniferous are favourable periods for ostracods, particularly in marine environments, from coastal seas to deep settings. They play an important role in stratigraphic subdivisions and consequently for correlations (e.g. Lethiers 1978, 1981; Olempska 1981, 1997; Casier 1987, 2003, 2004, 2008; Blumenstengel 1993; Casier et al. 2002; Song et al. 2017). Moreover, ostracods are certainly the best fossil group to reconstruct Palaeozoic palaeoenvironments (Casier 2017) and they provide insights into the evolution of the Devonian-Carboniferous (D/C) global bioenvironments due to their sensitivity to ambient factors such as salinity, bathymetry, temperature, hydrodynamics, oxygenation, and nutrients (Lethiers 1981; Casier and Olempska 2008; Olempska and Belka 2010; Casier et al. 2005, 2011; Song and Gong 2015a, b).

The D/C boundary ostracods of South China have so far been little known, except for the ostracods described from Guangdong (Zhao and Zhang 1997). In Guizhou Province, Shi (1964) reported Middle and Upper Devonian ostracods from Dushan and Ji and Chen (1987) described Lower Carboniferous ostracods from Changshun. However, the ostracods in the D/C transitional have never been discussed systematically but just mentioned several times in papers dealing with other faunas. The goal of this paper is to report the ostracods occurring close to the D/C boundary in Guizhou, South China for the first time and to discuss their biostratigraphical and palaeoecological implications.

Geological context

During the Late Palaeozoic, the palaeogeographic frame of South China consisted of the Yangtze-Cathysia continent and the South China Sea. From the Late Devonian to the Early Carboniferous, the epicontinental sea basement of the South China Block was cut by various intersected rifts, developing into a complex palaeogeography of shallow-water platforms separated by deep-water basins (Dong 1982; Ma and Bai 2002; Hou et al. 2011) (Fig. 1). The distribution of bio- and lithofacies was controlled by such palaeogeographic pattern (Ji 1989; Huang and Gong 2016; Ma et al. 2016).
Fig. 1

Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous lithofacies and palaeogeography of South China (modified after Ma et al. 2016) with the location of the studied section

The Baihupo section (N 25° 50′ 14.14〞; E 107° 30′ 26.56〞) is located along the road from Bailou to Feifengjing, about 3 km southwest of the Dushan City, in Guizhou (Fig. 1). This section crops out as the western limb of an anticline and displays the most complete D/C boundary beds in South China that has attracted the attention of numerous geologists (e.g. Jiang 1994; Wang and Wang 1996; Zhang et al. 2011a; Qie et al. 2016). The biostratigraphy and the sedimentology of the Baihupo section have been already studied in detail (Jiang 1994; Wang and Wang 1996; Wang 2001; Zhang et al. 2011a, b). The faunal assemblage of the Baihupo section contains conodonts (Jiang 1994), brachiopods (Yang 1964, 1978), corals (Zhang et al. 2011a), ostracods, and other fossil groups, as well as trace fossils (Wang and Wang 1996; Zhang et al. 2011b). The studied section exposes a continuous sedimentary succession from the Upper Devonian to Lower Carboniferous with, from bottom to top, the Zhewang, Gelaohe, and Tangbagou formations. Among them, the Gelaohe Formation (58.5-m thick), which is dated as the Famennian can be divided into three parts. The lower part (beds 1–7) is composed of grey to dark grey thick-bedded bioclastic limestones intercalated with thin-bedded shales and mudstones; the middle part (beds 8–20) is about 27-m thick and characterised by dark grey thin-bedded shales interbedded with wackestones and bioclastic limestones; the upper part (beds 21–28), about 15.6-m thick, consists of dark grey thin-bedded argillaceous limestones with mudstones. The total thickness of Tangbagou Formation exceeds 80 m (Wang and Wang 1996). In order to locate the D/C boundary, we have focused our study on measuring and sampling the lower part (beds 29–42) of the Tangbagou Formation, which is mainly characterised by light grey thick-bedded wackestones and bioclastic limestones intercalated with thin-bedded mudstones and argillaceous limestones (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2

Field photographs of the Baihupo section showing the lithology and fossils. a Conformity contact relation between the Zhewang Formation (bed 0) and the Gelaohe Formation (bed 1). b Conformity contact relation between the Gelaohe Formation (bed 28) and the Tangbagou Formation (bed 29), which is also suggested to be the D/C boundary. c Interbedded shales and bioclastic limestones, beds 39–40 of the Tangbagou Formation. d Argillaceous limestones with ostracods from bed 24 of the Gelaohe Formation. Hammer is 27-cm long

Material and methods

A total of 42 samples about 1000 g in weight each were collected from the Baihupo section. The method, known as “hot-acetolysis,” was used to extract ostracods from limestones (Lethiers and Crasquin-Soleau 1988; Crasquin-Soleau et al. 2005). About 4500 specimens were thus obtained from the Baihupo section, including single valves and carapaces. Totally, 37 species belonging to 25 genera were recognised (Figs. 3, 4, and 5). The ostracod faunas from all the Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations are composed by Podocopida (i.e. Bairdioidea and Bairdiocypridoidea), Palaeocopida (e.g. Hollinoidea, Aparchitoidea, Primitiopsoidea, and Paraparchitoidea), and Platycopida (Glyptopleuroidea, Cytherelloidea, and Geisinidae). All specimens figured in this paper are deposited in the palaeontological collections of the Museum of the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan, People’s Republic of China), and they are numbered from GBL2014001to GBL2014041.
Fig. 3

Distribution of ostracods in the Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous in the Baihupo section, Guizhou, South China

Fig. 4

Ostracods (1) from the Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous transition in the Baihupo section, Guizhou, South China. aAparchites circularis Wei, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014025, Late Devonian, bed 22. bHollinella cf. panxiensis Wang, 1978. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014011, Late Devonian, bed 9. c, dParabolbina camptosulcus Wei, 1983. c Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014015, Late Devonian, bed 0. d Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014021, Late Devonian, bed 20. eEurychilina cf. pojiaoensis Jiang, 1983. Right valve, GBL2014031, Late Devonian, bed 17. fParasargentina cf. sinensis Zheng, 1982. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014037, Late Devonian, bed 17. g, hSelebratina vellicata Casier and Lethiers, 2002. g Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014010, Late Devonian, bed 7. h Dorsal view of complete carapace, GBL2014009, Late Devonian, bed 27. iSvislinella ertangensis Wang, 1982. Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014016, Late Devonian, bed 22. jParaparchites longmenshanensis Wei, 1983. Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014029, Late Devonian, bed 22. kParaparchites sp. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014026, Late Devonian, bed 22. lSamarella cf. coumiacensis Lethiers and Casier, 1995. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014024, Late Devonian, bed 22. mPseudoparaparchites cf. arca Wei 1988. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014017, Late Devonian, bed 23. nQuasiknoxiella striata Wei 1988. Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014030, Early Carboniferous, bed 41. oKnoxiella subreticulata Wang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014008, Late Devonian, bed 16. p, q. Knoxiella cf. oblonga Wang, 1978. p Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014012, Late Devonian, bed 16. q Dorsal view of complete carapace, GBL2014013, Late Devonian, bed 17. rGlyptopleura pastica Jiang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014001, Late Devonian, bed 20. sCavellina prona Wei 1988. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014027, Late Devonian, bed 22. tIndivisia minata Wei 1988. Left lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014032, Late Devonian, bed 22. Scale bars represent 200 μm

Fig. 5

Ostracods (2) from the Late Devonian-Early Carboniferous transition in the Baihupo section, Guizhou, South China. aBairdia beichuanensis Wei, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014002, Late Devonian, bed 16. bBairdia cf. anxianensis Xie, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014003, Late Devonian, bed 17. cBairdia magna Tschigova 1960. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014005, Late Devonian, bed 24. dBairdia eoisoscelata Wang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014040, Early Carboniferous, bed 35. eBairdia sp. Right valve, GBL2014041, Late Devonian, bed 17. fFabalicypris sundarijanata Wang and Cao, 1997. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014020, Late Devonian, bed 22. gRectobairdia elongata Jiang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014014, Late Devonian, bed 17. hRectobairdia dushanensis Shi 1964. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014004, Late Devonian, bed 17. iBairdiacypris auriculata Wei, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014006, Late Devonian, bed 22. jBaschkirina cf. xuanwutianensis Jiang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014035, Late Devonian, bed 22. kAcratinella valida Shi 1964. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014028, Late Devonian, bed 24. lBairdiocypris concava Wang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014039, Late Devonian, bed 22. m, nHealdianella faseollina Rozhd., 1959. Right lateral view of complete carapace, Late Devonian, bed 27, GBL2014033, GBL2014034, respectively. oCytherellina subclara Wang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014007, Late Devonian, bed 17. pMicrocheilinella subregularis Wang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014036, Late Devonian, bed 20. qMicrocheilinella subquadrata Wei, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014018, Late Devonian, bed 23. rMicrocheilinella obrima Jiang, 1983. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014023, Late Devonian, bed 22. sMicrocheilinella infradomanica Rozh. 1962. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014038, Early Carboninferous, bed 42. tMicrocheilinella cf. affinis Polenova, 1955. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014019, Late Devonian, bed 24. uMicrocheilinella sp. Right lateral view of complete carapace, GBL2014022, Late Devonian, bed 22. Scale bars represent 200 μm

Age implications

The D/C boundary has been placed at the first appearance of the conodont species Siphonodella sulcata within the evolutionary lineage from S. praesulcata to S. sulcata (Paproth and Streel 1984). But nowadays, this definition is under review and is controversial, as new S. sulcata faunas below the present GSSP have been found (Kaiser 2009; Becker et al. 2016) in the D/C stratotype section (La Serre, Montagne Noire, France). Due to shallow-marine settings, pelagic conodont species are absent in the Baihupo sections. Therefore, the position of the D/C boundary cannot be fixed precisely between the Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations. Evidence from conodonts suggests that the D/C boundary probably lie in the lower part of the Tangbagou Formation, where macrofossils are missing (Zhang et al. 2011a). However, evidence from coral and brachiopod show that the D/C boundary in South China should be marked by the disappearance of Cystophrentis and Cyrtospirifer, respectively. It may be in accord with the lithological boundary, i.e. the boundary between the Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations (Yang 1964, 1978; Zhang et al. 2011a).

The ostracod assemblages from the Baihupo section are characterised by Hollinoidea (e.g. Hollinella Coryell, 1928, Parabolbina Swartz, 1936, Parasargentina Zheng, 1982), Primitiopsidae (i.e. Selebratina Polenova, 1953, Svislinella Adamczak,1968), Cavellinidae (i.e. Cavellina Coryell, 1928, Indivisia Zaspelova, 1954), Bairdioidea (e.g. Bairdia McCoy, 1844, Bairdiacypris Bradfield, 1935, Rectobairdia Sohn, 1960, Baschkirina Rozhdestvenskaja, 1959, Fabalicypris Cooper, 1946), and Bairdiocypridoidea (e.g. Bairdiocypris Kegel, 1932, Healdianella Posner, 1951, Microcheilinella Geis, 1933). Some of them occurred also in the Devonian of South China. For example, Parabolbina camptosulcus Wei, 1983 was first reported from the Lower Devonian in Yuexi, Sichuan (Wei et al. 1983). Rectobairdia elongata Wei, 1983 was originally described from the Middle Devonian in Xuanwutian, Yunnan. Cavellina prona Wei, 1988 and Indivisia minata Wei, 1988 often appeared in the Upper Devonian of Sichuan (Wei 1988). Meanwhile, some typical Carboniferous species appeared mostly from the bed 20 to the bed 40 in the studied section. For instance, Bairdia magna Tschigova 1960, B. beichuanensis Wei, 1983, and Bairdiacypris auriculata Wei, 1983 were described from the Yanguan Formation (Lower Carboniferous) in South China such as Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou (Wei et al. 1983; Zhang and Xiong 1987), and the first mentioned species was also originally described from the Lower Carboniferous in the Russian Platform (Tschigova 1960). Overall, the age of the ostracod assemblages from the Baihupo section (Fig. 3) should be close to the D/C boundary.

A few ostracod species with stratigraphic significance may offer new evidences to identify the D/C boundary in the Baihupo section. For example, Selebratina vellicata Casier and Lethiers, 2002 was first reported in the Upper Devonian of Holy Cross Mountains, Poland and died out in the late Famennian (Casier et al. 2002). This species occurred in the Gelaohe Formation in the Baihupo section and disappeared at the base of the bed 28. Similarly, Cavellina prona Wei, 1988 and I. minata Wei 1988 are missing in the Tangbagou Formation (they only occurred under the bed 28), whereas they are common in the Upper Devonian of South China but never been reported in the Carboniferous strata (Wei 1988). Moreover, Paraparchites longmenshanensis Wei, 1983, which was described originally in the Lower Carboniferous in Sichuan (Wei et al. 1983), first appeared in the bed 30 and is abundant in the Tangbagou Formation. Therefore, based on the ostracod fauna, we can conclude that the D/C boundary might be present at the base of the Tangbagou Formation, even though the precise position is yet uncertain. Nevertheless, this result is also supported by the study of corals and brachiopods (Yang 1964, 1978). Thus, the Baihupo section provides evidence of the ostracod faunal response to the D/C event, which is emphasised to be one of the most severe bioevents in the Phanerozoic history for causing the drastic biotic turnover from the Middle to Late Palaeozoic faunal regime (Walliser 1996; Komatsu et al. 2014; Kaiser et al. 2016).

Palaeoenvironmental implications

Five ostracod associations were recognised in the Palaeozoic strata of South China by Wang (1988), i.e. the leperditiid, palaeocopid, smooth-podocopid, spinose-podocopid, and entomozoacean associations, which represent palaeoenvironments from nearshore to deep settings (Fig. 6). The associations are also ecologically equivalent to the Mega-Assemblage (ecotype in Bandel and Becker 1975) summarised by Casier 2004, 2008, that is, the first three associations belong to the Eifelian Mega-Assemblage (=Eifelian ecotype), the fourth association belongs to the Thuringian Mega-Assemblage (=Thuringian ecotype), and the last one to the Myodocopid Mega-Assemblage (=Entomozoacean ecotype). Following Wang (1988), the palaeocopid association characterised by palaeocopids and cavellinids represents a nearshore palaeoenvironment. The smooth-podocopid association was generally characterised by a rich bairdiacean fauna with smooth carapaces and is indicative of offshore palaeoenvironments.
Fig. 6

The ecological position of Late Palaeozoic ostracod associations from South China (Wang 1988). The first three associations ecologically belong to the Eifelian Mega-Assemblage, the fourth to the Thuringian Mega-Assemblage, and the last one to the Myodocopid Mega-Assemblage (Casier 2004, 2008)

The ostracod faunas from the Gelaohe Formation in the Baihupo section are dominated by palaeocopids (about 45% of total number of species) and podocopids (about 47% of total number of species, mainly smooth species of Bairdiidae and Acratiidae). Platycopids occur less frequently, just 8% of total number of species. Thus, the ostracod assemblages are a mixture of two associations, i.e. palaeocopid and smooth-podocopid associations (Fig. 6). It is also ecologically equivalent to the Eifelian Mega-Assemblage (ecotype), which is generally characterised by a rich and diverse ostracod fauna indicative of a nearshore-offshore setting (Bandel and Becker 1975; Casier 2004, 2008). Upwardly, the ostracod faunas from the Tangbagou Formation are dominated by podocopids (about 67% of the total number), among which marine bairdioids represent about 35% of the total number of species. Palaeocopids (e.g. Aparchitoidea, Primitiopsoidea, and Paraparchitoidea) and platycopids (Glyptopleuroidea) comprise 20 and 13% of the total number of species in the Tangbagou Formation, respectively. Therefore, the ostracod assemblages belong to the smooth-podocopid association, which implies an offshore palaeoenvironment (Figs. 3 and 6).

In a word, the Gelaohe Formation and the lower part of the Tangbagou Formation of the Baihupo section were deposited during a transgression. Trace fossils and sedimentological evidences also support the view that the marine water depth fluctuated during the Late Devonian and Early Carboniferous in the study area, and a shallow depositional palaeoenvironment of the Gelaohe Formation is followed by a deepening-upward trend (Wang and Wang 1996; Wang 2004; Zhang et al. 2011b).

Conclusions

Thirty-seven ostracod species belonging to 25 genera from the D/C transition of Dushan, Guizhou Province, in South China were identified and figured for the first time. Our ostracod data suggest that the location of the D/C boundary lies at the base of the Tangbagou Formation and is consistent with the lithological boundary between the Tangbagou Formation and the Gelaohe Formation. The ostracods reported from the Gelaohe Formation belong to the palaeocopid association and to the smooth-podocopid association (the Eifelian Mega-Assemblage) and occupied nearshore-offshore palaeoenvironments, while the ostracod assemblage in the lower part of the Tangbagou Formation belongs to a smooth-podocopid association indicating an offshore palaeoenvironment. The Gelaohe and Tangbagou formations in the Baihupo section were deposited during a transgression in Guizhou, South China.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Dr. Wenkun Qie from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences for his help in improving the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge Ruoying Fan, Xinsong Zhang, Junning Su, Caohui Dong, and Zhenzhong Xiang all from China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) for their joint fieldwork. We are greatly indebted to the reviewers, Dr. Jean-Georges Casier (RINSB, Brussels, Belgium) and Dr. Claudia Dojen (Klagenfurt am Woerthersee, Austria). Their suggestions and comments have improved the scope and language of the manuscript.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41290260, 41472001) and Key Laboratory of Economic Stratigraphy and Palaeogeography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology) (Grant No. 2017KF06).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Economic Stratigraphy and Palaeogeography, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Center for Excellence in Life and PaleoenvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, School of Earth SciencesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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