The signature of the Mediterranean Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC) in the Paratethys has received wide attention because of the inferred changes in connectivity and base level. In this article, we present sequence stratigraphic interpretations on a seismic transect across the western part of the semi-isolated Late Miocene-Pliocene Dacic Basin (Eastern Paratethys, Romania), chronologically constrained by biostratigraphic field observations and well data. They reveal significant sea level changes during the middle Pontian that are coeval with the MSC. These changes were most likely transmitted to the western Dacic Basin from the downstream Black Sea and controlled by the sill height of the interconnecting gateway. During the middle Pontian lowstand of the western Dacian Basin, sedimentation continued in a remnant ∼300 m deep lake with a positive water balance. Our observations show that the evolution of semi-isolated sedimentary basins is strongly dependent on the communication with other depositional realms through its control on base level and sediment supply. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.