Climatic and biotic upheavals following the end-Permian mass extinction

C. Romano, N. Goudemand, T.W. Vennemann, D. Ware, E. Schneebeli-Hermann, P.A. Hochuli, T. Brühwiler, W. Brinkmann, H. Bucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction is frequently described as delayed, with complex ecological communities typically not found in the fossil record until the Middle Triassic epoch. However, the taxonomic diversity of a number of marine groups, ranging from ammonoids to benthic foraminifera, peaked rapidly in the Early Triassic. These variations in biodiversity occur amidst pronounced excursions in the carbon isotope record, which are compatible with episodes of massive CO2 outgassing from the Siberian Large Igneous Province. Here we present a high-resolution Early Triassic temperature record based on the oxygen isotope composition of pristine apatite from fossil conodonts. Our reconstruction shows that the beginning of the Smithian substage of the Early Triassic was marked by a cooler climate, followed by an interval of warmth lasting until the Spathian substage boundary. Cooler conditions resumed in the Spathian. We find the greatest increases in taxonomic diversity during the cooler phases of the early Smithian and early Spathian. In contrast, a period of extreme warmth in the middle and late Smithian was associated with floral ecological change and high faunal taxonomic turnover in the ocean. We suggest that climate upheaval and carbon-cycle perturbations due to volcanic outgassing were important drivers of Early Triassic biotic recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-60
Number of pages4
JournalNature Geoscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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