[Coral-List] extinction drove patterns of tropical marine biodiversity

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 18:24:20 EDT 2018

Differences in extinction drove modern patterns of tropical marine




Marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle is several times higher than
anywhere else, but why this is true is unknown because of poor historical
data. To address this, we compared the first available record of fossil
cheilostome bryozoans from Indonesia with the previously sampled excellent
record from the Caribbean. These two regions differ several-fold in species
richness today, but cheilostome diversity was strikingly similar until the
end of the Miocene 5.3 million years ago so that the modern disparity must
have developed more recently. However, the Miocene faunas were ecologically
very different, with a greater proportion of erect and free-living species
in the Caribbean compared to the less well-known Coral Triangle. Our
results support the hypothesis that modern differences in diversity arose
primarily from differential extinction of Caribbean erect and free-living
species concomitant with oceanographic changes due to the uplift of the
Isthmus of Panama, rather than exceptional rates of diversification in the

Cheers, Doug

Douglas Fenner
Contractor for NOAA NMFS Protected Species, and consultant
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

New online open-access field guide to 300 coral species in Chagos, Indian

Even without El Nino, 2017 temperatures soared.


Coral reefs are bleaching too frequently to recover

How to save the "tropical rainforests" of the ocean

More information about the Coral-List mailing list