Article, pp. 4-10 | PDF (492KB)
Understanding the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE): Influences of paleogeography, paleoclimate, or paleoecology?
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“The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event” (GOBE) was arguably the most important and sustained increase of marine biodiversity in Earth's history. During a short time span of 25 Ma, an “explosion” of diversity at the order, family, genus, and species level occurred. The combined effects of several geological and biological processes helped generate the GOBE. The peak of the GOBE correlates with unique paleogeography, featuring the greatest continental dispersal of the Paleozoic. Rapid sea-floor spreading during this time coincided with warm climates, high sea levels, and the largest tropical shelf area of the Phanerozoic. In addition, important ecological evolutionary changes took place, with the “explosion” of both zooplankton and suspension feeding organisms, possibly based on increased phytoplankton availability and high nutrient input to the oceans driven by intense volcanic activity. Extraterrestrial causes, in the form of asteroid impacts, have also been invoked to explain this remarkable event.
Received: December 12, 2008; Accepted: January 29, 2009
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