Skip to main content Accessibility help

Was marine faunal diversity in the Pleistocene affected by changes in sea level?

  • Kurt P. Wise (a1) and Thomas J. M. Schopf (a1)


We have investigated whether changes in marine faunal diversity during the Pleistocene would have been affected by changes in sea level. Our estimate of changes in area of shallow marine seas between low stand and high stand of sea level (approximately 200 m) leads to a prediction of approximately a 25% change in species diversity, 10% change in generic diversity and less than a 5% change in familial diversity. This agrees with the observation that large scale generic or familial changes have not been widely noted for the Pleistocene. As in other intervals of geologic time, changes in the sizes of faunal provinces owing to changes in sea level are less likely to be the significant factor in changing marine diversity than are changes in the number of faunal provinces.



Hide All
Abele, L. G. and Walters, K. 1979. Marine benthic diversity: a critique and alternative explanation. J. Biogeogr. 6:115126.
Bond, G. 1978. Speculations on real sea-level changes and vertical motions of continents at selected times in the Cretaceous and Tertiary Periods. Geology 6:247250.
Bousfield, E. L. 1973. Shallow-water Gammaridean Amphipoda of New England. 312 pp. Cornell Univ. Press; Ithaca, New York.
Bousfield, E. L. and Thomas, M. L. H. 1975. Postglacial changes in distribution of littoral marine invertebrates in the Canadian Atlantic region. Proc. Nova Scotia Inst. Sci. 27(Suppl. 3):4760.
Clark, J. A., Farrell, W. E., and Peltier, W. R. 1978. Global changes in postglacial sea level: a numerical calculation. Quat. Res. 9:265287.
Connor, E. F. and McCoy, E. D. 1979. The statistics and biology of the species-area relationship. Am. Nat. 113:791833.
Dando, P. R. and Southward, A. J. 1980. Speciation studies on Chthamalid barnacles …. Abstracts of Second Int. Congress of Syst. Evol. Biol. Pp. 415. Vancouver.
Deevey, E. S. Jr. 1950. Hydroids from Louisiana and Texas, with remarks on the Pleistocene biogeography of the western Gulf of Mexico. Ecology. 31:334367.
Diamond, J. M. 1973. Distributional ecology of New Guinea birds. Science. 179:759769.
Espenshade, E. B. Jr. ed. 1970. Goode's World Atlas. Rand McNally & Company, Chicago.
Flessa, K. W. 1975. Area, continental drift and mammalian diversity. Paleobiology. 1:189194.
Flessa, K. W. and Imbrie, J. 1973. Evolutionary pulsations: evidence from Phanerozoic diversity patterns. pp. 247285. In: Implications of Continental Drift for the Earth Sciences. Tarling, D. H. and Runcorn, S. K., eds. Academic Press; London.
Flessa, K. W. and Sepkoski, J. J. Jr. 1978. On the relationship between Phanerozoic diversity and changes in habitable area. Paleobiology. 4:359366.
Forney, G. G. 1975. Permo-Triassic sea-level changes. J. Geol. 83:773779.
MacArthur, R. H. and Wilson, E. O. 1963. An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography. Evolution. 17:373387.
MacArthur, R. H. and Wilson, E. O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. 203 pp. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton; New Jersey.
May, R. M. 1975. Patterns of species abundance and diversity. pp. 81120. In: Ecology and Evolution of Communities. Cody, M. L. and Diamond, J. M., eds. Belknap Press; Cambridge, Mass.
Menard, H. W. and Smith, S. M. 1966. Hypsometry of ocean basin provinces. J. Geophysical Res. 71:43054325.
Preston, F. W. 1962. The canonical distribution of commonness and rarity. Ecology. 43:410432.
Raup, D. M. 1979. Size of the Permo-Triassic bottleneck and its evolutionary implications. Science. 206:217218.
Schopf, T. J. M. 1974. Permo-Triassic extinctions: relation to sea-floor spreading. J. Geology. 82:129143.
Schopf, T. J. M. 1977. Population genetics of Bryozoa. pp. 459486. In: Woollacott, R. M. and Zimmer, R. L., eds. Biology of Bryozoans. Academic Press; New York.
Schopf, T. J. M. 1979. The role of biogeographic provinces in regulating marine faunal diversity through geologic time. pp. 449457. In: Historical Biogeography, Plate Tectonics, and the Changing Environment. Gray, J. and Boucot, A. J., eds. Oregon State Univ. Press; Corvallis, Oregon.
Schopf, T. J. M. 1980. Paleoceanography. 341 pp. Harvard Univ. Press; Cambridge, Mass.
Schopf, T. J. M. and Dutton, A. R. 1976. Parallel clines in morphologic and genetic differentiation in a coastal zone marine invertebrate: the bryozoan Schizoporella errata. Paleobiology. 2:255264.
Schopf, T. J. M. and Murphy, L. S. 1973. Protein polymorphism of the hybridizing seastars Asterias forbesi and Asterias vulgaris and implications for their evolution. Biological Bulletin. 145:589597.
Schopf, T. J. M., Fisher, J. B., and Smith, C. A. F. III. 1978. Is the marine latitudinal diversity gradient merely another example of the species-area curve? Pp. 365383. In: Battaglia, B. and Beardmore, J. A., eds. Marine Organisms: Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution. Plenum Press; New York.
Shepard, F. P. 1973. Submarine Geology. 3rd Edition. 517 pp. Harper & Row; New York.
Simberloff, D. S. 1972. Models in biogeography. Pp. 160191. In: Models in Paleobiology. Schopf, T. J. M., ed. Freeman, Cooper and Co.; San Francisco, Calif., 250 pp.
Simberloff, D. S. 1974. Permo-Triassic extinctions: Effects of area on biotic equilibrium. J. Geology. 82:267274.
Spivey, H. R. 1981. Origins, distribution, and Zoogeographic affinities of the Cirripedia (Crustacea) of the Gulf of Mexico. J. Biogeogr. 8:153176.
Thiel, E. C. 1962. The amount of ice on planet earth, Antarctic Research, Am. Geophys. Union, Natl. Acad. Sci. Natl. Res. Council, publ. #1036, Geophys. Monogr. no. 7, Washington, D.C. Pp. 172175.
Van Valen, L. 1973. Are categories in different phyla comparable? Taxon. 22:333373.
Walcott, R. I. 1972. Past sea levels, eustasy and deformation of the earth. Quat. Res. 2:114.
Williams, J. E., ed. 1970. Prentice-Hall World Atlas. 120 pp. Prentice-Hall, Inc.; Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Was marine faunal diversity in the Pleistocene affected by changes in sea level?

  • Kurt P. Wise (a1) and Thomas J. M. Schopf (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed