Brittany Laing

Brittany Laing
Macquarie University · Department of Biological Sciences

Master of Science

About

17
Publications
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Introduction
My research focuses on early Cambrian trace fossils and the insight they can provide into the early evolution of life on Earth. The work for my M.Sc. focused on the trace fossil content of the basal Cambrian boundary section in Newfoundland. Currently, I am undertaking my Ph.D. performed in conjunction with the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and Macquarie University (Australia).

Publications

Publications (17)
Article
The beginning of the Cambrian explosion is characterized by the onset of infaunalization and the appearance of systematic patterns of burrowing. The trace fossil Gyrolithes is common in the Ediacaran-Cambrian Global Stratotype Section and Point, where it shows a higher diversity and burrow depth than previously reported from any Cambrian spiral ver...
Article
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The transition between the seemingly disparate Ediacaran and Cambrian faunas is both enigmatic and body-fossil poor. The Chapel Island Formation on the Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada, contains a rich diversity of ichnofossils, providing new insight into the nature of the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition and early Fortunian ecosystems. Five ichn...
Article
Full-text available
The mixed layer of modern oceans is a zone of fully homogenized sediment resulting from bioturbation. The mixed layer is host to complex biogeochemical cycles that directly impact ecosystem functioning, affecting ocean productivity and marine biodiversity. The timing of origin of the mixed layer has been controversial, with estimates ranging from C...
Conference Paper
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The mixed layer is a zone of fully homogenized sediment resulting from intense bio-turbation. Below this zone, a transitional layer is characterized by discrete burrows. In modern settings, the mixed layer thickness varies according to depositional environments and controlling factors impacting on the benthos. The mixed layer was originally thought...
Conference Paper
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The Chapel Island Formation (CIF) at the Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada, is a 1000+ m-thick siliciclastic succession that hosts the Cambrian GSSP (ca. 541 Ma) 2.4 m above the base of its member 2 (M2) at Fortune Head. In this section, the first appearance of Treptichnus pedum, the index fossil for the base of the Cambrian, but also of other...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Chapel Island Formation (CIF) of Newfoundland, Canada, is a 1000+ m-thick siliciclastic succession that hosts the Cambrian GSSP (ca. 541 Ma) 2.4 m above the base of its member 2 (M2) in Fortune Head. Although the first appearance of Treptichnus pedum was considered as the marker of the base of the Cambrian, other burrows typical of the Fortunia...
Article
Full-text available
Major progress has recently been made regarding the biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy and isotope chemostratigraphy of the lower Cambrian successions in South Australia, in particular of the Arrowie Basin, which has facilitated robust global stratigraphic correlations. However, lack of faunal and sedimentological data from the lower Cambrian Norma...
Article
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The Guanshan Biota is an unusual early Cambrian Konservat-Lagerstätte from China and is distinguished from all other exceptionally preserved Cambrian biotas by the dominance of brachiopods and a relatively shallow depositional environment. However, the faunal composition, overturn and sedimentology associated with the Guanshan Biota are poorly unde...
Article
Full-text available
The Guanshan Biota is an unusual early Cambrian Konservat-Lagerstätte from China and is distinguished from all other exceptionally preserved Cambrian biotas by the dominance of brachiopods and a relatively shallow depositional environment. However, the faunal composition, overturn and sedimentology associated with the Guanshan Biota are poorly unde...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Cambrian GSSP (ca. 540 Ma) is marked by the appearance of complex trace fossil from the Treptichnus pedum Ichnofossil Assemblage Zone in the Chapel Island Formation (CIF) at Fortune Head, Newfoundland in Canada (Brasier et al., 1994). The CIF is a 1000+ m-thick, mostly continuous siliciclastic succession that ranges from the late Ediacaran to C...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The mixed layer of modern oceans is a zone of fully homogenized sediment resulting from bioturbation (Berger et al., 1979; Teal et al., 2008). The mixed layer is host to complex biogeochemical cycles that directly impact ecosystem functioning, affecting ocean productivity and marine biodiversity. However, the timing of appearance of a mixed zone at...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The appearance of complex organisms on Earth is a critical event that has led to profound, irreversible changes of the seafloor. In particular, the base of the Cambrian (541.0 ± 1.0 Ma) is marked by the appearance of the complex trace fossil Treptichnus pedum 2.4 m above the base of member 2 of the Chapel Island Formation at Fortune Head, Burin Pen...
Presentation
The Ediacaran-Cambrian transition is the only boundary defined by the first appearance datum (FAD) of a trace fossil (Treptichnus pedum). Consequently, the placement of the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) at Fortune Head, Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, has recently resurfaced as a topic of interest. Reluctance to the use of ichn...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Recent research has shown that the Cambrian diversification of body plans and ecological re-structuring, previously thought to be simultaneous, are in fact distinct events occurring in the Fortunian Stage and Stage 2 (529-521 Ma) respectively. Unfortunately, high resolution studies testing these discoveries are lacking, and there is an absence of current and thorough trace fossil taxonomic studies on early Cambrian sections. In order to better understand this transition we will examine early Cambrian strata in the Flinders Ranges from South Australia. The formation in question, the Uratanna Formation, lies unconformably between the well-studied Ediacaran Rawnsley Quartzite and the Cambrian Parachilna Formation. Yet, with limited body fossils and sparse ichnological studies on the formation, the Uratanna formation is understudied and 'ageless'. With thorough sedimentologic and ichnologic studies our project aims to unravel the evolutionary and ecological insights that the Uratanna Formation holds.
Project
In 1992, the International Stratigraphic Commission ratified the Cambrian GSSP at the base of the Treptichnus pedum IAZ at Fortune Head, Newfoundland, Canada. Since then, important debate surrounds its validity and many researchers underscore the greater efficiency of other proxies (e.g. Small Shelly Fossils, BACE δ13Ccarb excursion). The aim of this project is to clarify our understanding of early complex metazoan activities and evolutionary patterns that led to the Cambrian explosion.