The benthic macrofauna from the Lower Maastrichtian chalk of Kronsmoor (northern Germany, Saturn quarry): taxonomic outline and palaeoecologic implications

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Abstract

The benthic macroinvertebrates of the Lower Maastrichtian chalk of Saturn quarry at Kronsmoor (northern Germany) have been studied taxonomically based on more than 1,000 specimens. Two successive benthic macrofossil assemblages were recognised: the lower interval in the upper part of the Kronsmoor Formation (Belemnella obtusa Zone) is characterized by low abundances of macroinvertebrates while the upper interval in the uppermost Kronsmoor and lowermost Hemmoor formations (lower to middle Belemnella sumensis Zone) shows a high macroinvertebrate abundance (eight times more than in the B. obtusa Zone) and a conspicuous dominance of brachiopods. The palaeoecological analysis of these two assemblages indicates the presence of eight different guilds, of which epifaunal suspension feeders (fixo-sessile and libero-sessile guilds), comprising approximately half of the trophic nucleus of the lower interval, increased to a dominant 86% in the upper interval, including a considerable proportion of rhynchonelliform brachiopods. It is tempting to relate this shift from the lower to the upper interval to an increase in nutrient supply and/or a shallowing of the depositional environment but further data including geochemical proxies are needed to fully understand the macrofossil distribution patterns in the Lower Maastrichtian of Kronsmoor.

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