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Extinction and recovery patterns of the vegetation across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary — a tool for unravelling the causes of the end-Permian mass-extinction
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. Department of Geology, Lund University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2987-5559
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6723-239X
2007 (English)In: Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, ISSN 0034-6667, E-ISSN 1879-0615, Vol. 144, 99-112 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

High-resolution palynofloral signatures through the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary succession show several features in common with the Permian–Triassic transition but there are also important differences. Southern Hemisphere Cretaceous–Palaeogene successions, to date studied at high resolution only in New Zealand, reveal a diverse palynoflora abruptly replaced by fungi-dominated assemblages that are in turn succeeded by low diversity suites dominated by fern spores, then gymnosperm- and angiosperm-dominated palynofloras of equivalent diversity to those of the Late Cretaceous. This palynofloral signature is interpreted to represent instantaneous (days to months) destruction of diverse forest communities associated with the Chicxulub impact event. The pattern of palynofloral change suggests wholesale collapse of vascular plant communities and short-term proliferation of saprotrophs followed by relatively rapid successional recovery of pteridophyte and seed–plant communities. The Permian–Triassic transition records global devastation of gymnosperm-dominated forests in a short zone synchronous with one or more peaks of the fungal/algal palynomorph Reduviasporonites. This zone is typically succeeded by assemblages rich in lycophyte spores and/or acritarchs. Higher in the succession, these assemblages give way to diverse palynofloras dominated by new groups of gymnosperms. Although different plant families were involved in the mass-extinctions, the general pattern of extinction and recovery is consistent between both events. The major difference is the longer duration for each phase of the Triassic recovery vegetation compared to that of the Paleocene. The protracted extinction-recovery succession at the Permian–Triassic boundary is incompatible with an instantaneous causal mechanism such as an impact of a celestial body but is consistent with hypotheses invoking extended environmental perturbations through flood-basalt volcanism and release of methane from continental shelf sediments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2007. Vol. 144, 99-112 p.
Keyword [en]
Cretaceous–Paleogene, mass-extinction, palaeobotany, palynology, Permian–Triassic, vegetation, disaster species, recovery flora
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Research subject
The changing Earth
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1424DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2005.09.007OAI: diva2:874555
Swedish Research CouncilThe Crafoord Foundation, 20051023Australian Research Council, DP0557828
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-27 Last updated: 2015-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Vajda, ViviMcLoughlin, Stephen
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