Quantitative analysis of the ecological dominance of benthic disaster taxa in the aftermath of the end-Permian Mass Extinction
Abstract. The end-Permian mass extinction, the largest extinction of the Phanerozoic, led to a severe reduction in both taxonomic richness and ecological complexity of marine communities, eventually culminating in a dramatic ecological restructuring of communities. During the Early Triassic recovery interval, disaster taxa proliferated and numerically dominated many marine benthic invertebrate assemblages. These disaster taxa include the bivalve genera Claraia, Unionites, Eumorphotis, and Promyalina, and the inarticulate brachiopod Lingularia. The exact nature and extent of their dominance remains uncertain. Here, a quantitative analysis of the dominance of these taxa within the fossil communities of Panthalassa and Tethys benthic realms is undertaken for the stages of the Early Triassic to examine temporal and regional changes in disaster-taxon dominance as recovery progresses. Community dominance and disaster-taxon abundance is markedly different between Panthalassic and Tethyan communities. In Panthala...