Ecological drivers of the Ediacaran-Cambrian diversification of Metazoa

  title={Ecological drivers of the Ediacaran-Cambrian diversification of Metazoa},
  author={Douglas H. Erwin and S M Tweedt},
  journal={Evolutionary Ecology},
  • D. ErwinS. Tweedt
  • Published 1 March 2012
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • Evolutionary Ecology
Organismal modifications to their physical and chemical environment play a significant role in structuring many modern ecosystems, and experimental evidence suggests that such behavior can increase diversity. Despite the important role such activities play in connecting ecology and evolution, less is known of the macroevolutionary impact of such influences, especially their role during major evolutionary transitions. The Ediacaran-Cambrian diversification of Metazoa encompassed the appearance… 

Was the Ediacaran—Cambrian radiation a unique evolutionary event?

  • D. Erwin
  • Environmental Science
  • 2015
Abstract. The extent of morphologic innovation during the Ediacaran—Cambrian diversification of animals was unique in the history of metazoan life. This episode was also associated with extensive

Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota

This study provides the first quantitative palaeoecological evidence to suggest that evolutionary innovation, ecosystem engineering and biological interactions may have ultimately caused the first mass extinction of complex life.

Increase in metazoan ecosystem engineering prior to the Ediacaran–Cambrian boundary in the Nama Group, Namibia

Data are provided for the first support for a fundamental prediction of the biotic replacement model, and evidence for a direct link between the early evolution of ecosystem engineering and the extinction of the Ediacara biota is found.

Diversity partitioning during the Cambrian radiation

  • L. NaW. Kiessling
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2015
It is elucidates that global biodiversity during the Cambrian radiation was driven by niche contraction at local scales and vicariance at continental scales, which supports previous arguments for the importance of plate tectonics in the Cambrians, namely the breakup of Pannotia.

Branching archaeocyaths as ecosystem engineers during the Cambrian radiation.

The rapid origination and diversification of major animal body plans during the early Cambrian coincide with the rise of Earth's first animal-built framework reefs. Given the importance of

The Rise of Animals in a Changing Environment: Global Ecological Innovation in the Late Ediacaran

The late Ediacaran was an evolutionarily dynamic time characterized by strong environmental fluctuation and the dual emergence of bilaterian-grade animals and Phanerozoic-style ecological innovations, including spatial heterogeneity, complex reproductive strategies, ecospace utilization, motility, and substrate competition.



The Cambrian Conundrum: Early Divergence and Later Ecological Success in the Early History of Animals

A compilation of the patterns of fossil and molecular diversification, comparative developmental data, and information on ecological feeding strategies indicate that the major animal clades diverged many tens of millions of years before their first appearance in the fossil record.

THE EDIACARA BIOTA: Neoproterozoic Origin of Animals and Their Ecosystems

Present evidence suggests that the Ediacara biota included a mixture of stem- and crown-group radial animals, stem-group bilaterian animals, “failed experiments” in animal evolution, and perhaps representatives of other eukaryotic kingdoms.

Plankton ecology and the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition

The major biogeochemical perturbations that mark the onset of the Phanerozoic might be a consequence, rather than a cause, of the Cambrian explosion; reduced C export due to zooplankton expansion explains the otherwise anomalous drop in 813C at the base of the Tom- motian.

A placozoan affinity for Dickinsonia and the evolution of late Proterozoic metazoan feeding modes

It is hypothesized that the affinities of Dickinsonia lie with the Placozoa (Metazoa), an understudied phylum that is widespread in tropical seas worldwide and discusses the potential evolutionary transitions between the main metazoan feeding modes in the context of the emerging molecular phylogeny.

On the eve of animal radiation: phylogeny, ecology and evolution of the Ediacara biota.

Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period

It is suggested that shallow shelf waters in some late Cryogenian ocean basins contained dissolved oxygen in concentrations sufficient to support basal metazoan life at least 100 Myr before the rapid diversification of bilaterians during the Cambrian explosion.

Early animal evolution: emerging views from comparative biology and geology.

The Cambrian appearance of fossils representing diverse phyla has long inspired hypotheses about possible genetic or environmental catalysts of early animal evolution. Only recently, however, have

Poriferan paraphyly and its implications for Precambrian palaeobiology

It is demonstrated, in accordance with previous molecular studies, that sponges are paraphyletic, and that calcisponge are more closely related to eumetazoans than they are to demosponges.