- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015
A gastropod fauna has been studied from upper Pliensbachian – upper Toarcian deposits of two sections of the Causses Basin (southern France) in order to investigate the mode of recovery after the early Toarcian anoxic event. The fauna consists of 15 species, one of which is new (Bathrotomaria kronzwilmesorum sp. nov.). Their stratigraphical distribution shows two peaks of diversity – in the Bifrons Zone (Bifrons Subzone) and in the Aalensis Zone (Mactra Subzone) – which reflect brief times during which the oxygen content and bottom consistency favoured the settlement of a relatively diversified fauna. In the Variabilis–Pseudoradiosa zones, gastropods are only represented by two species. This probably indicates more severe and unstable environmental conditions, only allowing the survival of gastropod taxa with wide adaptive capacities. The very low species diversity and the discontinuous and slow faunal recovery were probably determined by physiographic factors. The Causses area was a small basin confined by exposed lands and open towards the central part of western Tethys. Gastropods described here occur exclusively in the Toarcian – early Aalenian communities of the European epicontinental seas, whereas species from the central region of western Tethys are absent. Geographic isolation and marginal location of the Causses Basin restricted faunal exchange with the western European epicontinental seas, preventing fast recovery after the anoxic event. Gastropods of the central region of the western Tethys were probably unable to settle and colonize that area due to the strongly different environment.