Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Laurussian land-plant diversity during the Silurian and Devonian: mass extinction, sampling bias, or both?

  • Anne Raymond (a1) and Cheryl Metz (a1)

In phytogeographic data sets, the number of assemblages or floras from each interval may provide a test of the influence of sampling intensity on land-plant diversity. Using a data set of Silurian and Devonian compression-impression plant genera from Laurussia and the Acadian terrain, regression of five measures of land-plant diversity (total diversity, mean genus richness of floras, median assemblage diversity, most diverse assemblage, and standing diversity at interval boundaries) against the number assemblages or floras from thirteen intervals suggests that sampling bias influences all of the diversity measures to some extent, including within-habitat measures. The standing diversity of land plants at interval boundaries, the measure least influenced by sampling (r = 0.65, p = 0.05), increased steadily from the Middle Silurian to the late Givetian/early–middle Frasnian boundary, fell sharply in the early–middle Frasnian and remained low throughout the late Frasnian–middle Famennian. Standing diversity rose dramatically in the late Famennian and Strunian (latest Devonian): the Frasnian–Famennian extinction event may have affected land plants. The standing diversity of Silurian and Devonian microspore genera at interval boundaries mirrors that of compression-impression genera: neither record supports a land-plant diversity equilibrium during the Devonian.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. E. Balme , and C. W. Hassell 1962. Upper Devonian spores from the Canning Basin, Western Australia. Micropaleontology 8:128.

D. Edwards , and J. Feehan 1980. Records of Cooksonia-type sporangia from late Wenlock strata in Ireland. Nature (London) 287:4142.

D. Jablonski 1986. Evolutionary consequences of mass extinctions. Pp. 313330in D. M. Raup and D. Jablonski , eds. Patterns and processes in the history of life. Dahlem Konferenzen 1984. Springer, New York.

A. H. Knoll , and K. J. Niklas 1987. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 50:127149.

A. H. Knoll , K. J. Niklas , and B. H. Tiffney 1979. Phanerozoic land plant diversity in North America. Science 206:14001402.

L. C. Matten 1974. The Givetian flora from Cairo, New York: Rhacophyton, Triloboxylon and Cladoxylon. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 68:303318.

L. C. Matten , W. S. Lacey , and R. C. Lucas 1980. Studies on the cupulate seed genus Hydrosperma Long from Berwickshire and East Lothian in Scotland and County Kerry in Ireland. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 81:249273.

K. J. Niklas , B. H. Tiffney , and A. H. Knoll 1983. Patterns in vascular land plant diversification. Nature (London) 303:614616.

J. B. Richardson , and D. C. McGregor 1986. Silurian and Devonian spore zones of the Old Red Continent and adjacent regions. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin 364.

J. J. Sepkoski Jr. 1986. Global bioevents and the question of periodicity. Pp. 4761in O. Walliser , ed. Lecture notes in earth sciences. Vol. 8. Global Bioevents. Springer, New York.

J. J. Sepkoski Jr., R. K. Bambach , D. M. Raup , and J. W. Valentine 1981. Phanerozoic marine diversity and the fossil record. Nature (London) 293:435437.

M. Streel , and A. Traverse 1978. Spores from the Devonian/Mississippian transition near the Horseshoe Curve section, Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Review of Paleobotany and Palynology 26:2139.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 1 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 124 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.