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  • Richard M. Forester (a1)


Ostracodes are a diverse group of marine and continental crustaceans that have radiated into virtually all oxygenated aquatic environments that persist for more than about a month. Continental ostracodes live in both surface water and groundwater.Ostracodes living in springs and seeps have typically been the subject of systematic rather than ecologic studies. These taxa may or may not occur in other surface-water bodies. Similarly, lacustrine taxa may or may not be found in springs. Spring taxa occurring in other surface waters are often found in ponds, marshes, streams, or on the edges of lakes where groundwater discharge is important. Groundwater discharge, unlike lake water, shows limited and predictable variability in chemistry and temperature during the year. That level of variability relative to lake water may define particular ostracode environmental gradients. The gradients would range from stable, high-volume discharge springs occupied principally by spring species to high variability lakes occupied largely by lacustrine species.Ostracode occurrences may also be described by parameters such as temperature, solute (dissolved ion) composition, solute concentration (salinity, conductivity, ionic strength), and calcite saturation indices. A plot of these parameters associated with the presence of a taxon illustrates its physiologic response to the environment, a field. Three general fields bounded by chemical parameters are delineated by existing data. Those fields are as follows: (1) a restricted range and (2) a full range of fresh water, and (3) both fresh and saline water. Fields bounded by temperature and chemistry are also recognized. The fields also offer a way of describing ostracode occurrences in terms of hydrogeology and climate.If ostracode occurrences are limited by major chemical and physical properties of the aquatic environment, then their habitat may be defined by certain physical–chemical principles. The same physical–chemical principles must apply to the past. The ecology of extinct taxa may, therefore, be defined in the same environmental terms as those for extant taxa.



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