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Wendler, Jens E; Willems, Helmut (2002): Calcareous dinocysts and grain size distribution along profile Stevns-Klint. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Wendler, JE; Willems, H (2002): Distribution pattern of calcareous dinoflagellate cysts across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (Fish Clay, Stevns Klint, Denmark): Implications for our understanding of species-selective extinction. In: Koeberl, C. and MacLeod, K.G., Editors, 2002. Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond, Special Paper, Geological Society of America, 356, 265-275,

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The distribution patterns of calcareous dinoflagellate cysts were studied in the classic Cretaceous Tertiary (K-T) boundary section of Stevns Klint, Denmark, focusing mainly on the response of the cyst association to an abrupt environmental catastrophe. A major part of the Fish Clay, which covers the K-T boundary at its base and is exposed in the investigated section, contains fallout produced by an asteroid impact. Calcareous dinoflagenate cysts are the best preserved remains of carbonate-producing phytoplankton in this layer. The potential of this group of microfossils for the analysis of survival strategies and extinction patterns has been underestimated. The cyst species of the investigated section can be grouped into four assemblages that represent victims, survivors, opportunists, and specially adapted forms. The victims (Pithonelloideae) were an extremely successful group throughout the Upper Cretaceous, but were restricted to the narrow outer shelf. This restriction minimized their spatial distribution, which generally should be large to facilitate escape from unfavorable conditions. Spatial restriction optimized the population decrease by mass mortality, disabling a successful recovery. In contrast, the survivors that became the dominating group in the Danian had a wide spatial range from the shelf environment to the oceanic realm. A unique calcareous dinocyst assemblage in the Fish Clay shows that even under the stressed conditions immediately following the impact event, some species flourished due to special adaptation or high ecological tolerance. The ability of these dinoflagellate species to form calcareous resting cysts in combination with their generally wide spatial distribution in a variety of environments appears to be the main reason for a low extinction rate at the K-T boundary as opposed to the high extinction rate of other phytoplankton groups, such as the coccolithophorids.
Related to:
Wendler, Jens E (2001): Reconstruction of astronomically-forced cyclic and abrupt paleoecological changes in the upper cretaceous boreal realm based on calcareous dinoflagellate cysts. Berichte aus dem Fachbereich Geowissenschaften der Universität Bremen, 183, 149 pp, urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-diss000001986
Latitude: 55.190000 * Longitude: 12.280000
Stevns-Klint * Latitude: 55.190000 * Longitude: 12.280000 * Method/Device: Sampling by hand (HAND)
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