The coral fauna from the oligocene of Malta: Biodiversity and
Saint Martin, Jean-Paul
Cahuzac, Bruno and
The study of the coral biodiversity of the Upper Oligocene sedimentary
series (Lower Coralline Limes-tone, Chattian) of Malta permitted the
identification of 25 scleractinian genera represented by 41 species.
Three new species are proposed: Miophora naxxarensis n. sp.,
Nerthastraea maltensis n. sp. and Gyrosmilia maltensis n. sp.
Observations made in various Oligocene sites in Malta, especially around
Naxxar and Tal Bajjada, allow to establish a suite of coral associations
which may vary spatially and vertically. The identified scleractinian
associations can be represented by different types of coral assemblages
and bio-constructions: isolated colonies, coral beds of varying density
but of large spatial extent, more cohesive coral banks (coral carpets)
or patch reefs forming morphologies with gentle lateral slopes. The
colonial morphologies are closely linked to these different types of
bioconstructions. These coral constructions have been established and
developed in shallow marine areas. The coral biodiversity of the
Oligocene of Malta fits well in the evolution of the Cenozoic reef
phenomenon whose development reached its peak in the Oligocene with
great coral richness in the Chattian in the Mediterranean area. (c) 2021
Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.