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Middle Phanerozoic mass extinctions and a tribute to the work of Professor Tony Hallam


Tony Hallam's contributions to mass extinction studies span more than 50 years and this thematic issue provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the many pioneering contributions he has made to this field. Early work (1961) on the Jurassic in Europe revealed a link, during the Toarcian Stage, between extinction and the spread of anoxic waters during transgression – the first time such a common leitmotif had been identified. He also identified substantial sea-level changes during other mass extinction intervals with either regression (end-Triassic) or early transgression (end-Permian) coinciding with the extinction phases. Hallam's (1981) study on bivalves was also the first to elevate the status of the end-Triassic crisis and place it amongst true mass extinctions, changing previous perceptions that it was a part of a protracted period of turnover, although debates on the duration of this crisis continue (Hallam, 2002). Conflicting views on the nature of recovery from mass extinctions have also developed, especially for the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction. These discussions can be traced to Hallam's seminal 1991 paper that noted the considerable delay in benthic recovery during Early Triassic time and attributed it to the persistence of the harmful, high-stress conditions responsible for the extinction itself. This idea now forms the cornerstone of one of the more favoured explanations for this ultra-low diversity interval.

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A. Hallam 1972. Diversity and density characteristics of Pliensbachian–Toarcian molluscan and brachiopod faunas of the North Atlantic. Lethaia 5, 389412.

A. Hallam 1976. Stratigraphic distribution and ecology of European Jurassic bivalves. Lethaia 9, 245–59.

A. Hallam 1986. The Pliensbachian and Tithonian extinction events. Nature 319, 765–8.

A. Hallam 1991. Why was there a delayed radiation after the end-Palaeozoic crisis? Historical Biology 5, 257–62.

A. Hallam 1995. Oxygen-restricted facies of the basal Jurassic of north west Europe. Historical Biology 10, 247–57.

A. Hallam 1997. Estimates of the amount and rate of sea-level change across the Rhaetian–Hettangian and Pliensbachian–Toarcian boundaries (latest Triassic to earliest Jurassic). Journal of the Geological Society, London 154, 773–9.

A. Hallam 2002. How catastrophic was the end-Triassic mass extinction? Lethaia 35, 147–57.

A. Hallam & P. B. Wignall 1999. Mass extinctions and sea-level changes. Earth-Science Reviews 48, 217–50.

A. Hallam , P. B. Wignall , J. Yin & R. Riding 2000. An investigation into possible facies changes across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary in southern Tibet. Sedimentary Geology 137, 101–6.

B. Hannisdal & S. E. Peters 2011. Phanerozoic Earth system evolution and marine biodiversity. Science 334, 1121–4.

D. Harazim , B. van de Schootbrugge , K. Sorichter , J. Fiebig , A. Weug , G. Suan & W. Oschmann 2013. Spatial variability of watermass conditions within the European Epicontinental Seaway during the Early Jurassic (Pliensbachian–Toarcian). Sedimentology 60, 359–90.

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K. Kaiho , Z.-Q. Chen , H. Kawahata , Y. Kajiwara & H. Sato 2006. Close-up of the end-Permian mass extinction recorded in the Meishan section, South China: sedimentary, elemental, and biotic characterization and a negative shift of sulfate sulfur isotope ratio. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 239, 396405.

P. E. Olsen , N. H. Shubin & M. H. Anders 1987. New Early Jurassic tetrapod assemblages constrain Triassic–Jurassic tetrapod extinction event. Science 237, 1025–9.

J. Pálfy & P. L. Smith 2000. Synchrony between Early Jurassic extinction, oceanic anoxic event, and the Karoo-Ferrar flood basalt volcanism. Geology 28, 747–50.

H.-J. Song , P. B. Wignall , Z.-Q. Chen , J.-N. Tong , D. P. G. Bond , X.-L. Lai , X.-M. Zhao , H.-S. Jiang , C.-B. Yan , Z.-J. Nin , J. Chen , H. Yang & Y.-B. Wang 2011. Recovery tempo and pattern of marine ecosystems after the end-Permian mass extinction. Geology 39, 739–42.

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P. B. Wignall & A. Hallam 1992. Anoxia as a cause of the Permian/Triassic extinction: facies evidence from northern Italy and the western United States. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 93, 2146.

P. B. Wignall & A. Hallam 1993. Griesbachian (Earliest Triassic) palaeoenvironmental changes in the Salt Range, Pakistan and south-east China and their bearing on the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 102, 215–37.

P. B. Wignall , A. Hallam , R. J. Newton , J.-G. Sha , E. Reeves , E. Mattioli & S. Crowley 2006. An eastern Tethyan (Tibetan) record of the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) mass extinction event. Geobiology 4, 179–90.

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