Coral barnacles: Cenozoic decline and extinction in the Atlantic/East Pacific versus diversification in the Indo-West Pacific


ABSTRACT The pyrgomatid coral barnacles, first appearing in the late Oligocene of the western Atlantic, underwent a Miocene diversification unparalleled by any other group of sessile barnacles. Diversification in the Indo- Pacific (eastern Tethys) coincided with retreat of the tropics from higher latitudes, especially in the Atlantic. Fragmentation of the tropics, due to the breakup of the Tethys seaway, and wholesale extinctions of their host corals beginning in the Oligocene of Europe, Mediterranean and eastern Pacific resulted in relictual distributions and regional endemism. This was followed by Neogene extinctions of many host coral genera in the western Atlantic which were not replaced by originations. The exceptional diversity of pyrgomatids now evident in the Indo-Pacific was tied to the survival and radiation of the corals found there. Curiously, our knowledge of pyrgomatid numbers and diversity has shifted from the Indonesian to peripheral centers of distribution.


Available from: William Anderson Newman, May 29, 2015
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