A palaeoecological review of the lower Gatun Formation (Miocene) of Panama with special emphasis on trophic relationships.

Alberti, Matthias and Reich, Sonja (2018) A palaeoecological review of the lower Gatun Formation (Miocene) of Panama with special emphasis on trophic relationships. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 98 (4). pp. 571-591. DOI 10.1007/s12549-018-0326-3.

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Abstract

A thorough literature review in combination with an analysis of fossil material from collections enables a detailed reconstruction of the ecosystem of the lower Gatun Formation (Serravallian to Tortonian; late middle to early late Miocene) of Central Panama. The fossil record is highly diverse and includes foraminifers, sponges, corals, mollusks, polychaetes, crustaceans, bryozoans, echinoderms, and vertebrates. The fauna indicates fully marine conditions in a shallow basin with a soft, stable substrate and mostly low water energy. The benthic life is dominated by suspension-feeding bivalves and carnivores including mainly gastropods and crustaceans. Herbivores are strikingly rare. Predator-prey relationships can be directly inferred from abundant drill holes in mollusk shells caused by naticid and muricid gastropods showing strong prey selectivity. Additionally, deep and narrow incisions at the outer lip of the apertures of gastropod shells are reported for the first time and proposed to be caused by crustaceans. Investigating the life habits of the benthic organisms revealed a moderate tiering of the fauna and the importance of empty shells as habitats for a variety of taxa. The nektonic life is highly diverse including nautilids, fishes, rays, sharks, sea turtles, crocodiles, and toothed whales. An analysis of the food preferences of the fossil fauna enables the reconstruction of a trophic web for the ecosystem of the lower Gatun Formation.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Central America, Mollusks, Neogene, Palaeoecology, Trophic web
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > D-DIR Directorate
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s12549-018-0326-3
ISSN: 1867-1594
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 11:11
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:09
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/42820

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