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The Establishment of Continental Ecosystems

  • Nicholas J. MinterEmail author
  • Luis A. Buatois
  • M. Gabriela Mángano
  • Neil S. Davies
  • Martin R. Gibling
  • Conrad Labandeira
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 39)

Abstract

The colonization of land was a major evolutionary transition. Following a protracted prelude to the terrestrial invasion during the Ediacaran to Ordovician, the remainder of the Paleozoic experienced an explosion of diversity and the expansion of benthic biotas into new environments through the creation of new niches. This expansion progressed from coastal settings into rivers, floodplains, deserts, and lakes, as well as increasing colonization of infaunal ecospace. A pattern emerges in which colonization of a new environment is followed by rapid filling of available ecospace, after which animals establish new behavioral programs. These programs are represented initially by the creation of original architectural designs, and subsequently modified by a proliferation of ichnogenera representing variation upon these established themes. The overall pattern is consistent with the early burst model of diversification that has been identified for various animal and plant clades, wherein there is a decoupling as an initial expansion in disparity is followed by an increase in diversity.

Keywords

Trace-fossil Assemblages Diplichnites Cochlichnus Rusophycus Ichnofossil 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Bill DiMichele and Ken McNamara for reviewing this manuscript, offering highly useful comments. Minter acknowledges receipt of a Government of Canada Postdoctoral Research Fellowship under the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme, which enabled the beginning stages of this work to be completed. Buatois, Mángano and Gibling were funded by Discovery Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Finnegan Marsh formatted Fig. 6.10. This is contribution 307 of the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems consortium at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas J. Minter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luis A. Buatois
    • 2
  • M. Gabriela Mángano
    • 2
  • Neil S. Davies
    • 3
  • Martin R. Gibling
    • 4
  • Conrad Labandeira
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  5. 5.Department of PaleobiologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA
  6. 6.Department of Entomology and BEES ProgramUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  7. 7.Department of GeologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  8. 8.College of Life SciencesCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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