The Zanclean marine fish fauna and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a coastal marine setting in the eastern Mediterranean

Abstract

Fossil records of nearshore, shallow marine fish communities are rare. Here, we present the rich and diverse fish fauna of a coastal setting in the eastern part of the Mediterranean during the early Pliocene, which comprises 54 taxa, 77% of which are extant and currently occupy the same shores. We analyse these assemblages to estimate the palaeodepth, the substratum and the climatic and oceanographic conditions prevailing in the region at the time. Furthermore, we review the stratigraphic and geographic distribution of the identified taxa from the Tortonian until today, to establish patterns and trends in the evolution of the Mediterranean coastal fish fauna. Contrary to expectations, the Pliocene coastal fauna is very similar to the Miocene and to the Pleistocene in terms of functional traits as well as taxonomically. Replacements of species seem to have been gradual, through multiple extirpations and reintroductions that led to the final extinction of mostly tropical species from the basin, while subtropical–temperate taxa invaded to take their place.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the editor Dr. Peter Koenigshof and Prof. Dr. Bettina Reichenbacher and Emer. Prof. Dr. Gary Layne Stringer for kindly reviewing the manuscript.

Funding

This research has been co-funded by the European Social Fund and Greek national funds through the action “Postdoctoral Research Fellowships” of the program “Human Resource Development, Education and Lifelong Learning” 2014–2020, which is implemented by the State Scholarships Foundation (I.K.Y.).

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Agiadi, K., Giamali, C., Girone, A. et al. The Zanclean marine fish fauna and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a coastal marine setting in the eastern Mediterranean. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 100, 773–792 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-019-00404-4

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Keywords

  • Pliocene
  • Ionian Sea
  • Otoliths
  • Teleost
  • Greece
  • Biogeography