Main content area

The temporal and spatial distribution of Triassic dinoflagellate cysts

Mangerud, Gunn, Paterson, Niall W., Riding, James B.
Review of palaeobotany and palynology 2019 v.261 pp. 53-66
Jurassic period, Miozoa, Triassic period, basins, fossils, geographical distribution, new species, palynology, species richness, Alps region, Switzerland
The records of fossil dinoflagellate cysts from the Late Triassic, the time during which they first appear abundantly in the geological record, are reviewed. Most of the Triassic palynological literature pertains to terrestrial palynomorphs, thus it is challenging to establish a global picture of the temporal and spatial distribution of Late Triassic dinoflagellate cyst around the Pangea supercontinent. Moreover, data on Late Triassic dinoflagellate cysts are dispersed, and there are currently no records of dinoflagellate cysts from many marine successions. With the exception of an Australian record of the dinoflagellate cyst Sahulidinium ottii from the upper Mid Triassic, and a possible early Carnian occurrence of, among others, Rhaetogonyaulax in the Swiss Alps, cyst-forming dinoflagellates first appeared relatively synchronously around Pangea from the late Carnian. There are 3–6 species of pre-Norian species globally, whereas species richness exceeded 25 by the end of the Norian. During the Rhaetian, marine seaways had gradually opened due to sustained continental breakup, allowing the expansion of dinoflagellates into many European basins. New species are present, some known only from restricted areas, whereas others like Dapcodinium appear to have a global distribution. The majority of Triassic dinoflagellate cyst taxa do not extend into the Jurassic.