Dr. Christian Neumann
I am interested in the ecology and evolution of biotic interactions among marine benthic organisms. Little is known from fossils about the evolution of symbiosis (= commensalism, parasitism and mutualism) over geological timescales. How do parasites influence host evolution? What are the origins of parasitic life histories? How do symbionts escape from host extinction? These problems, extensively studied by parasitologists, remain virtually untouched in palaeontology. The fossil holasteroid sea urchin Echinocorys can be used as a model taxon to study various aspects of symbiosis in deep time. It is a long-ranging taxon (Cenomanian-Thanetian) which survived the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Echinocorys was widespread and often dominated the soft-bottom communities. Moreover, its large size and assumed longevity favoured encounters with symbionts. Its availability in many collections makes the fossil echinoid Echinocorys a prime candidate for the examination of traces produced by symbiotic organisms.
NEUMANN, C. & WISSHAK, M. (2009): Gastropod parasitism on Late Cretaceous to Early Paleocene holasteroid echinoids - evidence from Oichnus halo isp. n.- Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 284: 115-119.