08 Jul 2021

08 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

DINOSTRAT: A global database of the stratigraphic and paleolatitudinal distribution of Mesozoic-Cenozoic organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts

Peter K. Bijl Peter K. Bijl
  • Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CB, the Netherlands

Abstract. Mesozoic–Cenozoic organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst (dinocyst) biostratigraphy is a crucial tool for relative and absolute age control in complex ancient sedimentary systems. However, stratigraphic ranges of dinocysts are found to be strongly diachronous geographically. A global compilation of state-of-the-art calibrated regional stratigraphic ranges could assist in quantifying regional differences and evaluate underlying causes. For this reason, DINOSTRAT is here initiated – an open source, iterative, community-fed database intended to house all regional chronostratigraphic calibrations of dinocyst events ( DINOSTRAT version 1.0 includes > 8500 entries of first and last occurrences (collectively called “events”) of > 1900 dinocyst taxa, and their absolute ties to the chronostratigraphic time scale of Gradstein et al., 2012. Entries are derived from 199 publications and 189 sedimentary sections. DINOSTRAT interpolates paleolatitudes of regional dinocyst events, allowing evaluation of the paleolatitudinal variability of dinocyst event ages. DINOSTRAT allows for open accessibility and searchability, on region, age, and taxon. This paper presents a selection of the data in DINOSTRAT: (1) the (paleo)latitudinal spread and evolutionary history of modern dinocyst species; (2) the evolutionary patterns and paleolatitudinal spread of dinoflagellate cyst (sub)families; (3) a selection of key dinocyst events which are particularly synchronous. Although several dinocysts show – at the resolution of their calibration – quasi-synchronous event ages, indeed many species have remarkable diachroneity. DINOSTRAT provides the data storage approach by which the community can now start to relate diachroneity to (1) inadequate tie to chronostratigraphic time scales; (2) complications in taxonomic concepts and (3) ocean connectivity and/or the affinities of taxa to environmental conditions.

Peter K. Bijl

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-158', Henrik Nøhr-Hansen, 22 Jul 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Peter Bijl, 06 Oct 2021 reply

Peter K. Bijl

Data sets


Peter K. Bijl


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Short summary
Using microfossils to gauge the age of rocks and sediments, requires an accurate age of first (origination) and last appearances (extinction). But how do you know such ages can then be applied worldwide? And what causes regional differences? This paper investigates the regional consistency of ranges of species of a specific microfossil group, organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts. This overview helps identifying regional differences in the stratigraphic range of species, and their causes.