The Cambrian explosion ultimately resulted in the critical transition from microbially dominated ecosystems in the Precambrian to metazoan-dominated ecosystems in the Phanerozoic. However, the temporospatial pattern of ecosystems during the Cambrian explosion is poorly understood largely because our current knowledge is biased in metazoan evolution and redox conditions, and thus insufficient to reconstruct an ecosystem that is an integrative entirety of biotic and abiotic components. Therefore, we proposed a facies-dependent integrative approach as a working hypothesis toward a more comprehensive understanding of ecosystem evolution during the Cambrian explosion. The basis is to collect data from a rock unit with a consistent facies (or a biota) in five aspects: biodiversity, ecological network, climate, environmental trio (living, taphonomic and sedimentary conditions), and biogeochemical cycles. On the basis the temporospatial pattern can be built by tracking the spatial heterogeneity and tracing the temporal variability. Although the scenario is a general solution, not obligately applicable to the Cambrian explosion, and needs tremendous amount of work, it is a practical way, probably the only way, to understand such a global event with great complexity.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4