Preliminary assessment of coupling the analysis of shell microstructures and microtextures as palaeoecological indicator in fossil brachiopods
Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Alabama, 2018 Bevill Building, Tuscaloosa AL 35487, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Alabama, 2018 Bevill Building, Tuscaloosa AL 35487, USA. email@example.com
Brachiopods are one of the most successful groups of marine invertebrates throughout the Phanerozoic. Despite their abundance and importance in the fossil record, there are numerous gaps in our understanding of their palaeoecology. In particular, there is little information about their mode of life in relation to the substrate, which can be important in palaeontological and sedimentological studies involving brachiopod faunas. The aim of this study is to test the combination of analyzing shell microstructures (with SEM) and microtextures (with EBSD) to elucidate palaeoecological aspects for three extinct species belonging to the Order Athyridida. Results indicate that Athyris spiriferoides and Composita ovata specimens have similar shell architecture to that of modern terebratulids, and were epifaunal species attached to a hard substrate by a pedicle. In contrast, Plicathyris ezquerrai has more shell similarities to modern rhynchonellids and likely had an epifaunal mode of life in a reclining position with ventral valve resting on the substrate. In summary, our findings illustrate the usefulness of using a combined analysis of shell microstructures and microtextures in the study of brachiopod palaeoecology.
Key words: Brachiopods, palaeoecology, microstructure, crystallography, mode of life.
How to cite: Pérez-Huerta, A. & Reed, H. 2018. Preliminary assessment of coupling the analysis of shell microstructures and microtextures as palaeoecological indicator in fossil brachiopods. Spanish Journal of Palaeontology, 33 (1), 129-138.
Received 20 November 2017, Accepted 20 March 2018, Published 30 June 2018