Article: Mississippian crinoid biodiversity, biogeography and macroevolution
The biodiversity and biogeography of 217 genera of Mississippian crinoids from North America and the British Isles shed light on the macroevolutionary turnover between the Middle Palaeozoic and Late Palaeozoic Crinoid Evolutionary Faunas. This turnover resulted from steady differential extinction among clades during the middle Mississippian after crinoids reached their Phanerozoic peak of generic richness during the early Mississippian. This peak richness was primarily a function of Mississippian originations rather than Devonian–holdover taxa. North America had 100 per cent higher generic richness than the British Isles, but rarefaction analysis adjusts the difference to only 37 per cent higher. Rarefaction demonstrated that North America had increased biodiversity, compared to the British Isles, almost entirely among monobathrid camerates, disparids and primitive cladids. In contrast, diplobathrid camerates, advanced cladids and flexibles had the same generic biodiversity between regions, when compared using rarefaction. The early Mississippian radiation resulted from two primary causes: (1) the expansion of Tournaisian carbonate ramps following the Frasnian mass extinction of reef faunas and (2) the predatory release in the Tournaisian following the end-Famennian Hangenberg extinction of durophagous fishes. A majority of crinoid genera from the British Isles are cosmopolitan. When combined with rarefaction analysis and evidence for more first occurrences in North America, this suggests higher origination rates in North America, especially when carbonate ramps were widespread. With the gradual reduction in the area of carbonate ramps from the early to late Mississippian, in conjunction with the radiation of new durophagous fishes, camerate crinoids in particular experienced continuous background extinction, without replacement, beginning during the earliest Viséan (late Osagean). By middle Viséan time (late Meramecian) advanced cladids were dominant in all settings. This resulted in the transition from the Middle Palaeozoic to the Late Palaeozoic Crinoid Macroevolutionary Fauna.