1st Edition

Biogeography and Biodiversity of Western Atlantic Mollusks

By Edward J. Petuch Copyright 2013
    252 Pages 113 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    252 Pages 113 Color Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Shallow water marine molluscan faunas are distributed in a pattern of distinct, geographically definable areas. This makes mollusks ideal for studying the distribution of organisms in the marine environment and the processes and patterns that control their evolution. Biogeography and Biodiversity of Western Atlantic Mollusks is the first book to use quantitative methodologies to define marine molluscan biogeographical patterns. It traces the historical development of these patterns for the subtropical and tropical western Atlantic. The book discusses the multistage process of evolving new taxa caused by eustatic fluctuations, ecological stress, and evolutionary selection.

    Drawing on his decades of intensive field work, the author defines three western Atlantic molluscan provinces and 15 subprovinces based on his Provincial Combined Index, a modern refinement of Valentine’s 50% rule. The faunal provinces—Carolinian, Caribbean, and Brazilian—are discussed in detail. The text defines the physical aspects of the provinces using quantitative data, with water temperature as the primary parameter. It discusses the details of the 15 subprovinces—geographically definable faunal subdivisions—as well as provinciatones, transition zones of provincial overlap.

    The author’s algorithms demonstrate that the bulk of the molluscan biodiversity is concentrated in 40 separate centers of speciation, ranging from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, south to Argentina. Many of these evolutionary hotspots reside on remote archipelagos and offshore banks as well as within areas of provincial overlap. The text describes some of the more exotic and poorly known areas and presents maps and color photographs of characteristic habitats, index species, and live animals, including over 400 species of rare and seldom seen shells.

    Introduction: American Molluscan Faunas in Time and Space

    The Molluscan Provincial Concept in the Tropical Western Atlantic

    History of Molluscan Biogeographic Research in the Tropical Western Atlantic
    Definition of the Molluscan Faunal Province
    Definition of the Molluscan Faunal Subprovince
    Geographical Heterochrony
    Submergence and Endemic Bathyal Faunas
    Western Atlantic Paleoprovinces and Paraprovincialism

    Provinces of the Tropical Western Atlantic
    The Carolinian Province
    Faunal Analysis of Carolinian Mollusks
    The Caribbean Province
    Faunal Analysis of Caribbean Mollusks
    The Brazilian Province
    Faunal Analysis of Brazilian Mollusks
    Western Atlantic Amphiprovincial Mollusks

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Georgian Subprovince
    The Carolinas and Georgia Coastal Lagoons
    The Carolinas and Georgia Offshore Scallop Beds
    The Carolinas and Georgia Offshore Coral Bioherms
    Georgian Deep-Water Areas
    Palm Beach Provinciatone

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Subprovinces of the Florida Peninsula
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Floridian Subprovince
    The Florida Bay Ecosystems
    The Florida Keys Reef Tracts
    Deep-Water Areas off the Florida Keys
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Suwannean Subprovince

    Southern and Western Subprovinces of the Carolinian Province
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Texan Subprovince
    The Texan Coastal Lagoons
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Yucatanean Subprovince
    The Yucatanean Coastal Lagoons
    Endemism on the Offshore Yucatan Banks and Deep-Water Areas

    Northern Subprovinces of the Caribbean Province
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Bermudan Subprovince
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Bahamian Subprovince
    Endemism on the Bahama Banks
    Endemism in Bahamian Deep-Water Areas
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Antillean Subprovince
    The Belizean Reefs and Eastern Yucatan Islands
    Endemism in the Greater Antilles

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Nicaraguan Subprovince
    Coastal Central America
    Endemism on the Bay Islands of Honduras
    Honduran and Nicaraguan Offshore Banks
    The San Blas Archipelago

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Venezuelan Subprovince
    The Golfo de Morrosquillo and Colombian Coast
    Endemism along the Goajira Peninsula
    The Golfo de Venezuela
    The Venezuelan Deep-Water Areas

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Grenadian and Surinamian Subprovinces
    The Lesser Antilles and Grenadines
    Endemism on the Dutch ABC Islands and Los Roques Atoll
    Endemism on Barbados
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Surinamian Subprovince
    The Amazonian Faunal Barrier

    Northern Subprovinces of the Brazilian Province
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Cearaian Subprovince
    The Atol das Rocas and Fernando de Noronha Island
    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Bahian Subprovince
    The Abrolhos Archipelago and Reef Complexes
    Endemism on Trindade Island

    Molluscan Biodiversity in the Paulinian Subprovince
    Endemism in the Cabo Frio Region
    Endemism in the South Brazilian Bight
    The Uruguayan Provinciatone

    Appendix 1: Provincial Index Taxa

    Appendix 2: Additions to Western Atlantic Molluscan Biodiversity


    Edward J. Petuch, Ph.D., is a professor of geology in the Department of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he teaches courses on oceanography, paleontology, and physical geology. Petuch has collected fossil and living mollusks in Australia, Papua-New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Japan, the Mediterranean coast of Europe, the Bahamas, Mexico, Belize, Brazil, and Uruguay. This research has led to the publication of more than 100 papers. His 14 previous books are well-known research texts within the malacological and paleontological communities.

    "Professor Petuch draws upon an extraordinary wealth of personal experience and many decades of field work studying both recent and fossil mollusks throughout the western Atlantic, and has produced a prolific body of publications on these faunas. … [He] is to be commended for clearly and succinctly defining a useful tool for quantifying faunal distinctions among geographic regions. This methodology can also be used to produce a series of testable hypotheses that will serve both as a foundation and as a point of departure for additional research into the effects of geography and ecology on the evolution and diversification of faunas."
    —From the Foreword by M. G. Harasewych, Ph.D., National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution