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Palaeoecology of Late Ladinian (Middle Triassic) benthic faunas from the Schlern/Sciliar and Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi area (South Tyrol, Italy)

Abstract

The Schlern and Seiser Alm area (South Tyrol, Italy) is a classical locality for studies of Middle Triassic platform to basin transitions, yet details of the palaeoecology of the rich benthic faunas of this area have been insufficiently known. We present herein a detailed palaeoecological study of the fauna from the Schlernplateau beds (Late Ladinian to Early Carnian) and the more or less time-equivalent Pachycardientuffe (Late Ladinian), which is based on quantitative faunal data. Both the palaeoecology and sedimentary features suggest that the fauna of the Schlernplateau beds represents a lagoonal soft-bottom fauna. The high species richness of the fauna and the locally restricted occurrences of fossils indicate an open-lagoon setting palaeogeographically close to an ocean inlet. The high evenness of the fauna is probably a result of time-averaging. In contrast, the fauna of the Pachycardientuffe shows clear indications of transportation. Ecological features of this fauna and palaeogeographic reconstructions suggest three potential source areas: (1) the lagoon represented by the Schlernplateau beds, (2) the reef fringing this lagoon and (3) a shallow clastic coast of a nearby volcanic island and/or submarine high. A comparison between diversities of selected Early and Middle Triassic lithological units revealed the increasing species richness of all major benthic taxa during the Middle Triassic and a shift from bivalve-dominated Early Triassic faunas to gastropod-dominated faunas.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation project 200021-162402/1 (to M. Hautmann). Markus Hebeisen is thanked for his support during the preparation of fossil material, and Rosi Roth is thanked for helping during photographing of the fossils. Michael Rasser (State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, Germany) kindly provided access to the collection of the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History and lent some specimens of the Stuttgart collection. This article benefited from careful reviews by William Foster, Christopher A. McRoberts, Simon Schneider and Mike Reich.

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Correspondence to Evelyn Friesenbichler.

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12542_2018_423_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx

Online Resource 1 Excel tables showing the quantitative matrix of fossil occurrences used for data analyses, the comparison between the faunas of the Schlernplateau beds and the Pachycardientuffe, and the number of species, number of individuals and Simpson-D values for each fossiliferous bed (XLSX 47 kb)

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Friesenbichler, E., Hautmann, M., Nützel, A. et al. Palaeoecology of Late Ladinian (Middle Triassic) benthic faunas from the Schlern/Sciliar and Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi area (South Tyrol, Italy). PalZ 93, 1–29 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-018-0423-7

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Keywords

  • Middle Triassic
  • Biotic recovery
  • Quantitative faunal analyses
  • Palaeoecology
  • Palaeoenvironment