Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 778–793 | Cite as

Permian-Triassic Charophytes: Distribution, Biostratigraphy and Biotic Events

  • Spencer G. LucasEmail author
Invited Review Article


Permian charophytes are known from the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, China, the USA, Brazil, Paraguay and India. Most of these records are of Middle- Late Permian Age and are the basis of local biostratigraphic zonation in southern Russia and China. Development of a robust Permian charophyte biostratigraphy will require a more extensive record. Triassic charophytes are known from Germany, Sweden, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Russia, Morocco, Congo, the USA, Argentina, Kazakhstan and China. This encompasses records from all Triassic stages and has been the basis of detailed biostratigraphic zonation in southern Russia-Kazakhstan-eastern Europe. Permian and Triassic charophyte biostratigraphy at the level of genus does not provide detailed correlations beyond local or regional schemes. Nevertheless, it does identify some important evolutionary datums that constrain the timing of important biotic events in the Permian-Triassic evolutionary history of the Charophyta, including: (1) Early Permian extinction of the Palaeocharaceae; (2) Late Permian extinction of the “Trochiliscales” (Moellerinales); (3) Carboniferous origin of the paraphyletic Porocharaceae, soon followed during the Permian by the origin of the multicellular basal plate; and (4) an important generic turnover of charophytes across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, though there are insufficient data to identify this as a mass extinction.

Key words

Permian Triassic charophytes biostratigraphy biotic events 


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I thank M. Feist, the late N. Grambast-Fessard, I. Soulié- Märsche and A. Zhamangara for educating me about charophytes and for improving my understanding of their Permian- Triassic record. Comments on an earlier version of the manuscript by J. Schneider and an anonymous reviewer improved its content and clarity. The final publication is available at Springer via

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© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New Mexico Museum of Natural HistoryAlbuquerqueUSA

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