How quick was marine recovery after the end-Triassic mass extinction and what role did anoxia play?

Last modified: 
May 20, 2019 - 4:59pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 08/2019
Authors: J.W. Atkinson, P.B. Wignall
Journal title: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume: 528
Pages: 99 - 119
ISSN: 00310182

Oxygen restricted conditions were widespread in European shelf seas after the end-Triassic mass extinction event and they are reported to have hindered the recovery of marine benthos. Here we reconstruct the redox history of the Early Jurassic Blue Lias Formation of southwest Britain using pyrite framboid size analysis and compare this with the recovery of bivalves based on field and museum collections. Results suggest widespread dysoxia punctuated by periods of anoxia in the region, with the latter developing frequently in deeper water settings. Despite these harsh conditions, initial benthic recovery occurred rapidly in the British Jurassic, especially in shallowest settings, and shows no relationship with the intensity of dysoxia. A stable diversity was reached by the first recognised ammonite zone after the end-Triassic mass extinction. This contrasts with the deeper-water, more oxygen-poor sections where the diversity increase was still continuing in the earliest Sinemurian Stage, considerably longer than previously reported. Similar recovery rates are seen amongst other groups (brachiopods and ammonites). Oxygen-poor conditions have been suggested to delay recovery after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, but this is not the case after the end-Triassic crisis. We suggest that this was because the European dysoxia was only a regional phenomenon and there were plenty of well-ventilated regions available to allow an untrammelled bounce back.

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