Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Carl Koch

Committee Member

Lynn Brester-Wingard

Committee Member

Thomas Scott

Committee Member

Randall Spencer

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35 P58 2011


Four molluscan assemblage zones in southern Florida corresponding to the Pinecrest Sand Member of the Tamiami Formation, and the Caloosahatchee, Bermont and Fort Thompson shell beds were identified following quantitative and qualitative analyses of the fossil molluscan fauna. Twenty-eight bulk sediment samples collected from 16 localities across southern Florida were processed for fossil material, and yielded nearly 60,000 specimens belonging to 311 species. A Q-mode cluster analysis compared sediment samples on the basis of 188 species whose abundances had been converted to binary presence-absence form. The cluster analysis was run four times using the Jaccard and Dice similarity coefficients as well as weighted and unweighted pair-group averaging methods. Results of the analysis remained the same despite these different clustering techniques, and thus supported the robustness of the data. Careful examination of paleo-ecological and age relationships between clusters and their characteristic taxa revealed that clusters formed as a result of age similarities among collections. Index species for each biostratigraphic unit were identified and provide valuable tools for recognizing these units in the field. Further study may yield tests on the utility and validity of the suggested index species.


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