Hexactinellid sponge assemblages across the Campanian– Maastrichtian boundary in the Middle Vistula River section, central Poland

Ewa Świerczewska-Gładysz


The sponge fauna from the Upper Campanian–lowermost Maastrichtian succession of the Middle Vistula River valley (central Poland) is represented mainly by dictyid hexactinellid sponges (Hexactinosida and Lychniscosida). Their greatest abundance and taxonomic variability is noted in the “Inoceramusinkermanensis Zone (Upper Campanian), and they are less diverse in the overlying (Upper Campanian) Trochoceramus costaecus Zone and lower “Inoceramusredbirdensis Zone. In the upper “Inoceramusredbirdensis Zone (basal Maastrichtian in the sense of the Tercis rather than the Boreal definition) they are extremely rare. With the beginning of the Maastrichtian the number of dictyid sponges gradually increases.

The observed changes in the abundance and taxonomic variability of the dictyid sponges indicate environmental changes in the latest Campanian–earliest Maastrichtian sea in the area. It seems that changes in basin bathymetry, confined to eustatic sea-level changes in the latest Campanian and early Maastrichtian, were the most important factor. Progressive shallowing of the basin in the latest Campanian drastically restricted the development of dictyids. In the peak regression, the sea level could have fallen to only several tens of metres. The gradual recovery of the sponge assemblages correlates with subsequent deepening of the basin with the start of the Maastrichtian.


Sponges, Hexactinosida; Lychniscosida; Ecology; Upper Cretaceous; Campanian– Maastrichtian boundary; Southern Poland

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