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    Review of 'The Geographic, Environmental and Phylogenetic Evolution of the Alveolinoidea from the Cretaceous to the Present Day.'

    The Geographic, Environmental and Phylogenetic Evolution of the Alveolinoidea from the Cretaceous to the Present Day.Crossref
    An interesing and useful paper that could benefit from thoughtful and detailed editing.
    Average rating:
        Rated 4.5 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 5 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 4 of 5.
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    Reviewed article

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    The Geographic, Environmental and Phylogenetic Evolution of the Alveolinoidea from the Cretaceous to the Present Day.

    The superfamily Alveolinoidea is a member of the Order Miliolida, and is comprised of three main families, the Alveolinidae, the Fabulariidae and the Rhapydioninidae. They are examples of Larger Benthic Foraminifera (LBF), which are single cell organisms with specific characteristic endoskeletons. Alveolinoids are found globally from the Cretaceous to present day and are very important biostratigraphic index fossils in shallow-marine carbonates. They are often associated with significant hydrocarbon reservoirs, and exhibit provincialism with characteristic genera often confined to one of the American, Tethyan or Indo-Pacific provinces. Previously, the systematic study of the global interrelationship between the various alveolinoid lineages has not been possible because of the absence of biostratigraphic correlation between the geographically scattered assemblages, and the scarcity of described material from the Indo-Pacific province. Here we use the literature and new material from the Americas, the French Alps, Iran, Tibet, India and SE Asia, coupled with the use the planktonic foraminiferal zonal (PZ) correlation scheme to put forward, for the very first time, a comprehensive, global, systematic analysis of the biostratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeogeographic evolution of the alveolinoids. The alveolinoids originated in the Cretaceous in the Tethyan province. During a global sea-level low-stand, a westward migration of some alveolinoids species to the Americas occurred in this period, a behaviour also seen in previous studies of contemporaneous orbitolinid LBF. After the K-P event, which saw the extinction of all Cretaceous alveolinoids, rare new forms of alveolinoids evolved again, first in the Americas and later independently in Tethys. As found in previous studies of rotalid LBF, sea-level low-stands in the Paleocene also allowed some alveolinoid forms to migrate, but this time in an eastward direction from the Americas to Tethys, and from Tethys on to the Indo-Pacific. Alveolinoids still exist today ( Borelis and Alveolinella ), the former of which is cosmopolitan, while the latter is restricted to the Indo-Pacific province. Throughout their phylogenetic history alveolinoids characteristically exhibit convergent evolution, with the repeated re-occurrence of certain morphological features. Understanding this propensity to homoplasy is essential in understanding and constructing the phylogenetic relationships within the alveolinoid superfamily.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Ecology,The Environment,Climate,Foraminifera, alveolinoids, Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene, Holocene, biostratigraphy, phylogeny, palaeoenvironment, palaeogeographic distribution, extinctions, sea-level changes.

      Review text

      Level of importance: This manuscript details the evolution, distributions and dispersal of families of larger benthic foraminifers that are useful both biostratigraphically and paleoenvironmentally.

      Level of validity:  The work is well researched and appears to be valid in the context of information presented.  As someone trained in ecology, this reviewer recommends that the authors not refer to taxa as occupying “the same niche” but rather using the terminology “a similar niche”, which communicates comparable information that is more defensible.  Similarly, from a paleoceanographic perspective, there is no reason to assume that the shallow waters occupied by these LBF would have experienced significant cooling (see text on pages 17 & 18). Rather, the high latitudes cooled and deep-ocean circulation accelerated, but low latitude temperatures probably did not fluctuate by more than a few degrees. On page 22, “The Indo-Pacific Province, 12th line in the first paragraph regarding “more tolerant forms with more evolved characters” is problematic, because, as the authors note numerous times, the simpler forms are the long-term survivors and therefore presumable, “more tolerant”.

      Level of completeness:  A Table of locations and coordinates for the new locations mention on pages 3 & 4 would be useful. This paper presents concepts that deserve additional discussion and recommendations for how to better define such issues in fossil phylogenies.  For example, although the information presented implies polyphyletic emergence of the three families, that issue is not mentioned in the discussion as a topic requiring further consideration in systematics and nomenclature. Similarly, the authors propose that some genera emerged more than once from the same primitive  ancestor, but don’t discuss the systematic implications thereof.  I am not proposing that the authors tackle these challenges in this paper, but could provide a paragraph in the Discussion noting that such challenges require further consideration in terms of appropriate nomenclature. Also, on page 7, there is a sentence that starts “Banner (1971)…” and an accompanying Figure 9 that are interesting, but clearly not pertinent to the evolutionary and distributional study as presented.  I recommend that the sentence and figure be deleted.

      Level of comprehensibility: The topics in this manuscript, including morphological detail and paleo/evolutionary terminology, involve a lot of terms unfamiliar to most, including many researchers who work with foraminifers. Often terms are well defined, but other times, the reader will be forced to look them up. And sometimes it is challenging to determine what feature is being described for which species; and example is the short paragraph near the end of page 23, where the discussion of the Y-shaped septula is confusing.  Finally, several of the captions for figures need additional explanation of symbols, especially Figures 11 and 16.

      Need for further editing: This is a long and detailed manuscript that could benefit from careful editing to deal with inconsistencies, wordiness, missing words, and occasionally poorly constructed sentences. Some common inconsistencies are in use of hyphens where en dashes should be used (both in the text and references) and in spacing (e.g., 6Ma vs. 6 Ma). Other issues include extraneous words, some confusing sentences that require clarification, and long sentences that can be broken up into two or more sentences.


      Dear Prof. Hallock

      Thank you so much for your comprehensive review. We have followed your recommendations thoroughly. 


      2021-01-20 12:23 UTC

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