Paleoecology, Diagenesis and Biological Affinity of Tetradiids in the Upper Ordovician (Sandbian) Black River Group of the Kingston Area, Ontario, Canada
MetadataShow full item record
Tetradiids are a group of colonial, tubular fossils that occur globally in Middle to Upper Ordovician strata. Tetradiids were first described as a type of tabulate coral; however, based on their four-fold symmetry, division, and presence of a central-sparry canal, they were recently reinterpreted as a florideophyte rhodophyte algae, a reinterpretation that is tested in this thesis. This study focused on understanding the affinity and taphonomy of this order of fossil. Research was conducted by stratigraphic and petrographic analyses of the Black River Group in the Kingston, Ontario region. Tetradiid occurrences were divided into fragment or colonial, with three morphologies of tetradiids described (Tetradium, Phytopsis and Paratetradium). Morphology is specific to depositional environment, with compact Tetradium consistently within ooid grainstones and open branching Phytopsis and chained Paratetradium consistently within mudstones. Two types of patch reefs were recognized: a Paratetradium bioherm, and a Paratetradium, Phytopsis, stromatolite bioherm. The presence of bioherms implies that tetradiids were capable of hypercalcifying. Preservation styles of tetradiids were investigated, and were compared to brachiopods, echinoderms, mollusks, and ooids. Tetradiids were preferentially preserved as molds and demonstrated complete dissolution of skeletal material. Rare specimens, however, demonstrated preserved horizontal partitions, central plates, and a double wall. Skeletal molds were filled with either calcite spar, mud or encrusted by a cryptomicrobial colony. Both calcitic and aragonitic ooids were discovered. The co-occurrence of aragonitic ooids, aragonitic crytodontids, and the evolution of aragonitic, hypercalcifying tetradiids is interpreted as representing the geochemical favoring of aragonite and HMC in a time of global calcite seas. The geochemical favoring of aragonite is interpreted to be independent to global Mg: Ca ratios, but was the result of increased saturation levels and temperature driven by high atmospheric pCO2. Based on the presence of epitheca, tabulae, septa, and the commonality of growth forms, tetradiids are interpreted as an order of Cnidaria. The evolution of an aragonitic skeleton in tetradiids is interpreted to be the result of de novo acquisition of a skeleton from an unmineralized clade.