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Scale dependence of drilling predation in the Holocene of the northern Adriatic Sea across benthic habitats and nutrient regimes

Citation

Zuschin, Martin et al. (2021), Scale dependence of drilling predation in the Holocene of the northern Adriatic Sea across benthic habitats and nutrient regimes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qfttdz0jj

Abstract

Predation has strongly shaped past and modern marine ecosystems, but the scale dependency of patterns in drilling predation, the most widely used proxy for predator-prey interactions in the fossil record, is a matter of debate. To assess the effects of spatial and taxonomic scale on temporal trends in the drilling frequencies (DF), we analyzed Holocene molluscan assemblages of different benthic habitats and nutrient regimes from the northern Adriatic shelf in a sequence stratigraphic context. Although it has been postulated that low predation pressures facilitated the development of high-biomass epifaunal communities in the eastern, relatively oligotrophic portion of the northern Adriatic shelf, DFs reaching up to 30-40% in the studied assemblage show that drilling predation levels are comparable to those typical of Late Cenozoic ecosystems. DFs tend to increase from the transgressive systems tract (TST) into the highstand systems tract (HST) at the local scale, reflecting an increase in water depth by 20-40 m and a shift from infralittoral to circalittoral habitats over the past 10,000 years. As transgressive deposits are thicker at shallower and highstand deposits are thicker at deeper locations, a regional increase in DFs from TST to HST is evident only when these differences are accounted for. The increase in DF towards the HST can be recognized at the level of total assemblages, classes and few abundant and widespread families, but it disappears at the level of genera and species because of their specific environmental requirements, leading to uneven or patchy distribution in space and time.

Funding

Austrian Science Fund, Award: P24901

Slovak Research and Development Agency, Award: APVV 0555-17

Slovak Scientific Grant Agency, Award: VEGA 2/0169-19