Mutterlose, J., Bornemann, A. and Herrle, J.O.
Mesozoic calcareous nannofossils - state of the art
Palaontologische Zeitschrift, 79, (1), .
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Calcareous nannofossils originated in the Triassic, radiated in the Jurassic and became a dominant component of the marine biosphere from the earliest Jurassic onward. They can be considered as one of the most important "innoviations" of the Mesozoic oceans. Their basic morphology allows the differentiation of three different groups: coccoliths, nannoliths and calcispheres (= calcareous dinocysts). Only coccoliths and nannoliths are discussed in this article in some detail. occoliths and nannoliths have contributed greatly in the interpretation of Mesozoic marine systems through biostratigraphy and palaeoecology/palaeoceanography. Ever since the late 1960s both coccoliths and nannoliths have proven to be useful and reliable zonal markers for biostratigraphic schemes, allowing detailed zonations for the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Though affected by palaeobiogeographic provincialism, coccoliths and nannoliths have supplied many cosmopolitan biostratigraphic markers. These allow a global correlation of marine sedimentary units both from onshore sections in the classical European and North American areas and pelagic sequences recovered in the course of the DSDP/ODP drilling from the worl's oceans. Thus research on calcareous nannofossils covers both, regional and global aspects. Research in the last 15 years concentrated on palaeoecological aspects. Apart from dinoflagellates, coccolithophores were the most important primary producers in Mesozoic oceans. As such they heavily relied on autoecological factors such as light, nutrients and temperature. Variationes in the assemblage composition of these groups may thus be viewed as a key for understanding palaeoecological, palaeoceanographic and palaeoclimatic changes of the past.
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