Living rhodolith beds in the Gulf of California and their implications for paleoenvironmental interpretation

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Foster, M. S., Riosmena-Rodriguez, R., Steller, D. L., & Woelkerling, W. M. J. (1997). Living rhodolith beds in the Gulf of California and their implications for paleoenvironmental interpretation. Special Paper of the Geological Society of America, 318, 127-139. doi:10.1130/0-8137-2318-3.127
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TitleLiving rhodolith beds in the Gulf of California and their implications for paleoenvironmental interpretation
AuthorsM. Foster, R. Riosmena-Rodriguez, D. Steller, W. Woelkerling
AbstractSubtidal surveys in the southwestern Gulf of California indicate that rhodolith beds are widely distributed, major sources of carbonate sediments, and habitats of high biodiversity. Beds with abundant branched rhodoliths ranging in size from 2 to 10 cm (longest dimension) have been found in two main types of environments: (1) gently sloping, subtidal soft bottoms with moderate wave action (wave beds; 2 to 12 m deep), and (2) relatively level bottoms in channels with tidal currents (current beds; below 12 m). Large individuals (to 11 cm) with up to 1 cm thick, densely packed branches are also found dispersed among sand and cobbles on more wave exposed shores. The relative abundance of fruticose forms and the sphericity and branch density of individual thalli are generally higher in wave beds than in current beds. Morphology within wave beds varies along gradients of water motion, with higher branch densities, more apical branching, and more branch fusions present as water motion increases. The extent to which these morphological differences represent different taxa is being evaluated. The abundance of rhodoliths in Pliocene and Pleistocene carbonate deposits and modern sediments indicates that this community has long been an important feature of nearshore environments in the Gulf. Our results suggest that measurements of a combination of morphological characters in populations of fossil rhodoliths, combined with detailed, small-scale stratigraphic analyses, may provide good estimates of paleoenvironmental conditions.
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
Date1997
Volume318
Start page127
End page139
ISSN0072-1077
NoteCited By (since 1996):6, Seaweeds

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