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Article: Endo‐ and epilithic faunal succession in a Pliocene–Pleistocene cave on Rhodes, Greece: record of a transgression

Palaeontology - Volume 60 Part 5 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 60
Part: 5
Publication Date: September 2017
Page(s): 663 681
Author(s): Margret Steinthorsdottir, and Eckart Håkansson
Addition Information

How to Cite

STEINTHORSDOTTIR, M., HåKANSSON, E. 2017. Endo‐ and epilithic faunal succession in a Pliocene–Pleistocene cave on Rhodes, Greece: record of a transgression. Palaeontology, 60, 5, 663-681. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12312

Author Information

  • Margret Steinthorsdottir - Department of Palaeobiology Swedish Museum of Natural History Stockholm Sweden (Email:
  • Margret Steinthorsdottir - Bolin Centre for Climate Research Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden
  • Eckart Håkansson - UWA Centre for Energy Geoscience School of Earth & Environment University of Western Australia Perth WA Australia (Email:

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 08 August 2017
  • Manuscript Accepted: 20 May 2017
  • Manuscript Received: 04 February 2017

Funded By

Stockholm University. Grant Number: SU 619‐2974‐12 Nat
Bolin Centre for Climate Research

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
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A fossil cave and associated sediments and fossil fauna located on the Greek island of Rhodes in the eastern Aegean Sea is reported here, and the depositional history discussed. The sediments were deposited during the late Pliocene, in the interstitial space between basement boulders of up to 1500 tons. The depositional history of the cave comprises eight stages. From initial flooding, the basin experienced a continuous transgression with sea‐level rise in excess of 500 m, followed by a rapid, forced regression of similar magnitude. The recognition of a succession of fossil communities illustrates this transgression, with a seemingly abrupt shift from endolithic to epilithic biota dominance late in the transgressive cycle. The communities recording the increasing water depth from 0 to >150 m are: The Gatrochaenolithes torpedo (bivalve boring) and Entobia gonioides (sponge boring) ichnocoenosis, with peak distribution between 0 and 1 m water depth; the E. gonioidesE. magna ichnocoenosis, with 1–5 m depth peak distribution; the exclusive E. magna ichnocoenosis, with 5–40 m depth peak distribution; and the E. gigantea ichnocoenosis, with a peak distribution approaching 150–200 m. Below this depth, an epilithic community without boring organisms takes over, characterized by the calcareous sponge Merlia cf. normani, and the inarticulate brachiopod Novocrania turbinata. Simultaneously with the succession of the endo‐ and epilithic cave wall fossil communities, skeletal calcarenite accumulated on the cave floor; the erosional remnants of this sediment are insufficient to further expand the overall transgression–regression model.

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