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Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 703–722 | Cite as

Early Maastrichtian benthos of the chalk at Kronsmoor, northern Germany: implications for Late Cretaceous environmental change

  • Julia Engelke
  • Christian Linnert
  • Jörg Mutterlose
  • Markus Wilmsen
Original Paper

Abstract

Lower Maastrichtian strata (Belemnella obtusa and lower–middle B elemnella sumensis cephalopod biozones) at the Saturn quarry near Kronsmoor (northern Germany) were logged and sampled in detail (33 bulk samples of about 6 kg each) for high-resolution quantitative palaeoecological analysis of the benthic fauna. Following standardised preparation, the size fractions 500 μm–1 mm and >1 mm were considered, documenting a diverse benthic assemblage of bryozoans, brachiopods, bivalves, various echinoid taxa, asteroids, ophiuroids, crinoids, sponges, small-sized sabellids and serpulids, cirripedes and foraminifera. A general, gradual up-section increase in the abundance of benthic faunas was recognised. Furthermore, from the lower to the upper part of the section, epifaunal suspension feeders became more dominant as the mobile guilds (epifaunal and shallow infaunal) saw a reduction in numbers. These observations parallel results obtained from low-resolution macrofossil analyses of this interval that documented an impoverished lower and a rich upper assemblage, the latter clearly dominated by epifaunal suspension feeders. Palaeoecological data of benthic community relicts at Kronsmoor are indicative of increased nutrient availability during the early Maastrichtian. However, in the absence of any evidence of increased productivity in the overlying photic zone (calcareous nannofossil data), a lateral input (upwelling) of nutrient-rich waters onto the shelf to fuel the benthic ecosystem has to be considered. This view is supported by records of contemporaneous changes in latest Cretaceous ocean circulation that followed the latest Campanian cooling event, inclusive of a southward spread of waters of intermediate depth from high latitudes.

Keywords

Upper Cretaceous Chalk Sea Quantitative palaeoecology Benthic communities Environmental factors 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Holcim (Deutschland) AG, in particular Mr. J. Stinsky and Dr. A. Iwanoff, are thanked for permission to carry fieldwork at the Saturn quarry. We also thank Dr. B. Niebuhr (Dresden) for support in fieldwork, M. Müller (Bochum) for sampling as well as F. Häuser and K. Kleefuß (both Bochum) for preparation. M. Berensmeier (Potsdam) picked some samples. M. Machalski (Warsaw) and F.T. Fürsich (Erlangen) are thanked for constructive reviews of the manuscript as well as P. Königshof (Frankfurt) for editorial handling. Financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG codes MU 667/44-1 and WI 1743/8-1) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen DresdenMuseum für Mineralogie und GeologieDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und GeophysikRuhr Universität BochumBochumGermany

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