Coordinated Stasis Reconsidered: A Perspective at Fifteen Years

  • Carlton E. BrettEmail author
Part of the International Year of Planet Earth book series (IYPE)


“Coordinated stasis” concerns larger-scale ecological-evolutionary units (EE = “blocks of coordinated stasis”) defined by persistence of lineages and having similar biofacies composition at species level. It encompasses concurrent taxonomic stasis, ecologic stasis, and coordinated biofacies change. This pattern of shared stability and change, introduced by the author, was never intended as a hypothesis about process. It is an extension of the concept of punctuated equilibrium, but implies synchronous stasis and punctuation in numerous lineages rather than within a single lineage. It does not necessarily apply everywhere but enables a systematic approach to identifying cases showing similarities of pattern. It is separate from hypotheses and speculations about processes.


Coordinated taxonomic stasis Ecologic stasis Biofacies stasis Recurrent biofacies Extinction and restructuring Habitat tracking Diversity thresholds Appalachian Basin Hamilton Group Regressions Transgressions Biogeographic shifts 



I am indebted to many people who have helped shape my views of evolutionary paleoecology, but I hasten to add that they should not be held accountable for my present ramblings. Gordon Baird has inspired a good deal of my thinking on patterns in the stratigraphic record; likewise, Linda Ivany has guided my thinking on evolutionary paleoecology, as have many former and present students, including Alex Bartholomew, Heather Baugh, James Bonelli, Mike DeSantis, Forest Gahn, Austin Hendy, Pat McLaughlin, Jocelyn Sessa, and Patrick Wall.

I have benefited greatly from stimulating conversations with colleagues including Tom Baumiller, Niles Eldredge, Mike Foote, the late Stephen Jay Gould, Steve Holland, David Jablonski, Mike Kowalewski, Bruce Lieberman, Dave Meyer, Arnie Miller, Mark Patzkowsky, Dolf Seilacher, Steven M. Stanley, and many others. Arnie Miller reviewed an early draft of a similar paper and suggested many important changes; Linda Ivany reviewed the final draft and made further useful suggestions. I must also acknowledge the supportive atmosphere of the University of Cincinnati for nurturing my interests in paleobiology. My work has also been supported by grants from NSF and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society. I sincerely thank John Talent for encouraging me to finally pull together this retrospective and inviting me to contribute to this volume.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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