Southeastern Section - 66th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 32-7
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM


HOWARD, Rainee L., STAFFORD, Emily S. and FORCINO, Frank L., Geosciences and Natural Resources Department, Western Carolina University, 331 Stillwell Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723,

Paleoecological studies of the interactions among ancient organisms can help scientists understand how communities have changed through time. This study focuses on Ordovician brachiopods from the Corryville Member of the Maysvillian Grant Lake Formation in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. We examine repair frequency through time in order to determine predatory preferences and to give insight to how the ancient community operated as a whole.

Specimens from 11 stratigraphically distinct samples were identified to the genus level and examined for predatory repair scars. Generic richness and evenness were calculated for each sample, as was repair scar frequency (RF) for the complete sample as well as the genera Hebertella and Rafinesquina.

Richness ranges from 10 to 6, and evenness ranges from 0.46 to 0.86. RF of all taxa ranges from 0.02 to 0.07. RF for Hebertella ranges from 0 to 0.09. RF for Rafinesquina, which had the highest RF throughout all the samples, ranges between 0.07 and 1. Rafinesquina RF has a mean of 0.33 with a median value of 0.25. RF data for both taxa show some similar peaks through time, but it should be noted that two samples had only two and five Rafinesquina specimens, so the RF of 1.0 and 0.60 (respectively) may be a result of small sample size. There was no statistically significant correlation between richness or evenness and any of the three RF trends through time.

Rafinesquina‘s high RF may be due to its flat shape or to some sort of other predator preference, such as taste. More globose brachiopods may have been less likely to survive predatory attacks, or their shells may have been more likely to fall apart during taphonomic processes. Additionally, Rafinesquina have fine shell ornamentation, whereas other brachiopods have much deeper grooves that can trap large amounts of sediment, fusing to the fossil and hiding repair scars.