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Geology, stratigraphy, and fossil vertebrates of Gotland, Sweden: a review
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology.
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Silurian limestones of Gotland, Sweden, and their exceptionally well-preserved fossils have attracted the interest of scientists for more than 200 years. The sedimentary rocks represent approximately 10 million years of time, and were deposited in a shallow, equatorial inland sea named the Baltic Basin. The majority of the sediments are composed of reef-associated strata, but a general transition can be seen along the strike from shallow water in the northeast to deeper shelf environments in the southwest. The understanding of the stratigraphy and the geology of Gotland has greatly improved during the last decades. This research on Gotland has also led to the discovery of a series of stable isotope excursions and extinctions among several faunal groups. These events were probably linked to cycles in atmospheric and oceanic states, and three of them have been recognized globally. The Baltic Basin was also home to a variety of early vertebrates. The first fossil vertebrates from Gotland were reported in 1861, but the most extensive study of these early fishes was performed in the late 1900s. More recently it was shown that the vertebrates were also affected by one of the extinction events. This thesis is an extensive review of previous work and will form a geological basis for future studies. In this work, all previous reports of vertebrates have been gathered, reviewed, and the old samples have been placed in an updated stratigraphical framework. The scale taxonomy of Gotland vertebrates, including the Baltic acanthodians, has been evaluated and partly revised. Additionally, the depositional environments of the sampled areas have been investigated. Studying the vertebrates of Gotland is important for understanding the distribution of vertebrates through time and in different environments during the Silurian. Initial results indicate environmental preferences among vertebrates on both group and species-level, which may prove useful for testing the vertebrate biozonation developed for the Silurian.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. , 78 p.
Keyword [en]
Silurian, Gotland geology, Baltic Basin, extinction events, isotope excursions, atmospheric and oceanic cycles, early vertebrates, scale taxonomy, environmental preferences, vertebrate biozonation.
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-281659OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-281659DiVA: diva2:915063
2016-04-27, EBC/9:2008, Norbyvägen 22, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-12-15 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-12-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. An updated stratigraphic and environmental framework for the distribution of Silurian vertebrates on Gotland
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An updated stratigraphic and environmental framework for the distribution of Silurian vertebrates on Gotland
2015 (English)In: Estonian journal of earth sciences, ISSN 1736-4728, E-ISSN 1736-7557, Vol. 64, no 1, 13-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this work, previously published occurrences of vertebrates from the latest Llandovery to end-Ludlow successions of Gotland, Sweden, are gathered and summarized in an updated stratigraphic framework, which also incorporates facies differences of sedimentary units. Even though the taxonomy of vertebrates from Gotland is in need of revision, their occurrences are here reported on a group level in order to give preliminary indications of where the focus of continued sampling should lie. Indeed, there are parts of Gotland that are poorly represented by the samples at hand and others that have been extensively sampled but still have not yielded any vertebrates. Preliminary investigations of new samples indicate that the lack of vertebrates in older sediments of Gotland may be because of sampling bias, while the reasons for a complete absence of vertebrates in other parts remain unknown. Our results also emphasize a sudden appearance of acanthodians on Gotland in the early Ludfordian To investigate these preliminary results, complementary sampling and more confined facies-categorization will be needed. Combined with a higher taxonomical resolution, this will also help us understand how the vertebrate faunas were affected by the events coupled with extinctions that have been identified on Gotland and on a global scale. One of these events has been shown to affect the Gotland vertebrates before. Our results indicate that this may be true for several of the events. When an increased understanding of the vertebrate faunas of Gotland has been established, the goal is to use up-to-date correlations to compare Gotland with other parts of the Baltic Basin to render a better picture of early vertebrate evolution during the Silurian.

vertebrate distribution, stratigraphy, facies, Silurian events, Gotland, Sweden
National Category
Developmental Biology Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251824 (URN)10.3176/earth.2015.03 (DOI)000351327700004 ()
Available from: 2015-04-27 Created: 2015-04-24 Last updated: 2016-12-15Bibliographically approved
2. Vertebrate microremains from the late Silurian Winnica Formation of the Holy Cross Mountains, Poland
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vertebrate microremains from the late Silurian Winnica Formation of the Holy Cross Mountains, Poland
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-281657 (URN)
Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-12-15

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