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Abstract: The Role of Tubiphytes in Bioherms

David V. Le Mone

Tubiphytes was first described by Maslov in 1956 and is typically found associated with biohermal developments. Fagerstrom (1987) interprets the form as belonging to the binder guild. The form is primarily restricted to shallow water environments and ranges in age from the Mississippian (Osagean) (Rigby, 1958) to the Middle Cretaceous (Albian) (Crescenti, 1969).

Tubiphytes, in association with calcareous inozoan and sphinctozoan sponges, becomes an important biohermal consortium in the Early Permian (Leonardian) to Late Permian (Ochoan). In the Leonardian (Parafusulina zone) of the Finlay Mountains of west Texas, for example, binding and stabilizing tubiphytes coexists with baffling calcareous sponges and crinoidal thickets. This consortium displaces the older dominant phylloid algal mounds, which enjoy their best development between the Middle Pennsylvanian (Desmoinesian) and the Lower Permian (Wolfcampian). The uppermost Dorashamian Permian reefs (Skiathos series) on Skyros Island, Greece, and the Changhsiang Formation in Sichuan, China are considered to be among the youngest Paleozoic occurrences of the consortium. No biohermal occurrences of any type are recorded in Lower Triassic sediments. Tubiphytes, along with scleractinid corals and calcareous inozoan and sphinctozoan sponges, is a major contributor to Middle Triassic to Late Jurassic bioherms.

Tubiphytes, as an organism, has been assigned to such divergent taxa as the Porifera, Foraminifera, algal-foraminiferal consortium, Hydrozoa, Cyanobacteria, Microproblematicum, Rhodophycophyta, and Cyanobacterium-Chlorophycophyta consortium. Most workers today would align tubiphytes with either the sponges or the algae.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90980©1994 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Ruidoso, New Mexico, April 24-26, 1994