Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fossil deep water sponges are similar to modern sponge assemblages

19.11.2015

German-Chinese team of scientists studies 445 million year old sediments

Fossils and sediments from deep sea zones of some thousand meters are extremely rare. Therefore, biodiversity and evolution of life in those zones are rarely explored. A German-Chinese team of scientists with participation from Göttingen University has analysed about 445 million year old shale sediments in Anhui province, South China.


Conceptual model of migration of sponges to relatively shallow water to escape from anoxic and sulphidic water (white arrow) and burial by mud turbidites (red arrow).

Image: Lixia Li und Joachim Reitner

The scientists found fossil sponge assemblages which migrated from deep water to higher ecological sea zones and which are similar to modern deep sea sponges. The results were published in Scientific Reports.

The great ice-age 445 million years ago resulted in massive ecological changes and a mass extinction of marine life. With the start of the so called recovery, the deep water sponge assemblages moved to a much higher located zone with relatively shallow water, the shelf.

“We assume that the sponges escaped from the then anoxic and sulphidic deep water”, Göttingen geobiologist Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner says. In addition, on the shelf the sponges were buried rapidly by mud turbidities. Due to migration and burial the fossils in the analysed sediments are well-preserved, so that the scientists are the first to record sponge fossils in China.

The fossils match with modern deep water sponge assemblage. The observed assemblage is dominated by lyssakine “soft” hexactinellids (60 percent) that are typically found in deep zones of the sea. Some of them match morphologically with modern Rosella-types often found in Antarctic deep water.

Modern characteristics were found in a second group of sponges found by the scientists called demospongiae.

“These many matches show the extreme steadiness of ecological zones in deep water. This explains why the evolution of organism assemblages is slow”, Prof. Reitner says. “After the total recovery of the ecosystem the sponges re-moved to deep water zones. Those temporary movements in ecological zones are also known from other mass extinctions.”

The geobiological research in South China is a cooperation of the Faculty of Geosciences and Geography, Department of Geobiology, of Göttingen University with the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Science and the School of Earth Sciences and Engineering of Nanjing University. The research project was embedded in the “Göttingen-Nanjing Geobiology Lectures” to promote research-led teaching.

Original publication:
Lixia Li, Hongzhen Feng, Dorte Janussen, Joachim Reitner (2015): Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China – Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction. Scientific Reports, 5:16060, doi: 10.1038/srep16060, http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16060

Contact address:
Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner
University of Göttingen
Faculty of Geosciences and Geography – Geobiology
Goldschmidtstrasse 3, 37073 Göttingen
Phone: +49 (0)551 39-7950
Mail: jreitne@gwdg.de
Website: www.geobiologie.uni-goettingen.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16060
http://www.geobiologie.uni-goettingen.de

Romas Bielke | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>