DID DYNAMIC REDOX CONDITIONS CONTROL LATE EDIACARAN METAZOAN ECOSYSTEMS?
Anoxic and ferruginous water column conditions are noted in all three settings during and after the transition to positive d13C that marks the end of the Shuram/Wonoka excursion. In the Nama Group, both sub-basins reveal highly dynamic redox structures, where shallow, inner ramp settings experienced transient oxygenation. Anoxic conditions were caused either by episodic upwelling of deeper anoxic waters or higher rates of productivity. These settings supported short-lived and monospecific skeletal metazoan communities. By contrast, microbial (thrombolite) reefs, found in deeper inner- and mid-ramp settings, supported more biodiverse communities with complex ecologies and large skeletal metazoans. These long-lived reef communities, as well as Ediacaran soft-bodied biotas, are found particularly within transgressive systems, where oxygenation was persistent. We suggest that a mid-ramp position enabled physical ventilation mechanisms for shallow water column oxygenation to operate during flooding and transgressive sea-level rise. Our data support a prominent role for oxygen, and for stable oxygenated conditions in particular, in controlling both the distribution and ecology of Ediacaran skeletal metazoan communities.