Mesozoic Marine Revolution

Abstract

The Mesozoic is characterized by a dramatic diversification of marine invertebrates and vertebrates. This affected both the existing marine ecosystems and the modern ecosystems that subsequently developed. Causes of the diversification include the end‐Permian and Early Triassic mass extinctions, continental break‐up, oceanic partitioning and sea‐level fluctuations.

Keywords: mesozoic; duophageous; mean seas; mass extinction

Figure 1.

(a) Early Triassic plate reconstruction showing the extent of the large landmass Pangea. Palaeogeographic maps modified from C.R. Scotese (1997), PALEOMAP Project, University of Texas at Arlington [http:/www.scotese.com].

(b) Latest Cretaceous plate reconstruction showing the development of modern oceans from the break‐up of Pangea. Palaeogeographic maps modified from C.R. Scotese (1997), PALEOMAP Project, University of Texas at Arlington, [http.www.scotese.com].

Figure 2.

Diversification of Families through the Mesozoic in context with the Phanerozoic (data from Benton, ).

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References

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Further Reading

Bambach RK (1977) Species richness in marine benthic habitats through the Phanerozoic. Paleobiology 3: 152–167.

Barrera C and Johnson C (1999) Evolution of the Cretaceous Ocean–climate system. Geological Society of America Special Paper 332: 1–45.

Harper E (1998) Taphonomy and the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. Palaios 13: 4–16.

Sander PM (2000) Ichthyosauria: their diversity, distribution, and phylogeny. Palaontologische Zeitschrift 74: 1–35.

Scotese CF (1997) Continental Drift, 7th edn. PALEOMAP Project. Arlington, TX: Arlington Press.

Sepkoski JJ (1992) Phylogenetic and ecological patterns in the Phanerozoic history of marine diversity. In: Eldredge N (ed.) Systematics, Ecology and the Biodiversity Crisis, pp. 77–100. New York: Columbia University Press.

Valentine JW (1985) Phanerozoic Diversity Patterns. Profiles in Macroevolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Vermeij GJ (1994) The evolutionary interaction among species: selection, escalation and coevolution. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 25: 219–236.

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How to Cite close
Gregory, F John(Mar 2002) Mesozoic Marine Revolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001645]