Interrelations between stromatoporoid morphometric features – a quantitative approach based on specimens from the Silurian of Podolia (Ukraine) and the Devonian of the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland)

Piotr Łuczyński


Morphometric attributes of 705 stromatoporoid specimens from a number of exposures from the Silurian of Podolia (Ukraine) and the Devonian of the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland), representing a wide array of shallow water carbonate sedimentary environments, have been analysed. Taken into account were such parameters as: general shape of the skeleton, shape of the final growth form (living surface profile), upper surface character, latilaminae arrangement, burial ratio and type of initial surface. A number of new ratios has been introduced, designed mainly to improve the mapping of the outlines of the stromatoporoids upper surfaces. All studied specimens were treated as belonging to one group, and relations between particular attributes were tested. The results were analysed in terms of potential environmental factors influencing stromatoporoid morphometric features. Most of the distinguished attributes are common in the studied group and occur in various combinations, with an important exception of parameters designed to reflect the shape of the skeleton’s upper surface, which are distinctly predominated by convex variants. This indicates that surface concavity was a highly undesired feature among stromatoporoids. Upper surface convexity is interpreted herein as a response to the hazard of clogging of the animals pores by tiny sediment particles suspended in the bottom turbid water layer. Common low burial ratios of final living surface profiles and the occurrence of specimens with a smooth upper surface but a non-enveloping latilaminae arrangement are other reflections of this phenomenon. Burial by sediments and redeposition were also important factors governing stromatoporoid development. No direct arguments indicating photosensitivity of stromatoporoids can be deduced from the presented results. The hitherto postulated allometric tendency among stromatoporoids of starting growth as laminar forms and later adopting consecutively higher profile shapes has not been confirmed here. On the contrary, a tendency for gradual elimination of very high profile forms with increasing stromatoporoid size has been observed. The final shape of a stromatoporoid skeleton was always an effect of a combination of various agents.


Stromatoporoids; Morphometric features; Quantitative analysis; Palaeoenvironmental interpretations; Clogging

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