Calcareous nannofossil assemblage changes across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: evidence from a shelf setting

Biotic response of calcareous nannoplankton to abrupt warming across the Paleocene/Eocene boundary reflects a primary response to climatically induced parameters including increased continental runoff of freshwater, global acidification of sea-water, high sedimentation rates, and calcareous nannoplankton assemblage turnover. We identify ecophenotypic nannofossil species adapted to low pH conditions (Discoaster anartios, D. araneus, Rhomboaster spp.), excursion taxa adapted to the extremely warm climatic conditions (Bomolithus supremus and Coccolithus bownii), three species of the genus Toweius (T. serotinus, T. callosus, T. occultatus) adapted to warm, rather than cool, water conditions, opportunists adapted to high productivity conditions (Coronocyclus bramlettei, Neochiastozygus junctus), and species adapted to oligotropic and/or cool water conditions that went into refugium during the PETM (Zygrablithus bijugatus, Calcidiscus? parvicrucis and Chiasmolithus bidens). Discoaster anartios was adapted to meso- to eutrophic, rather than oligotrophic, conditions. Comparison of these data to previous work on sediments deposited on shelf settings suggests that local conditions such as high precipitation rates and possible increase in major storms such as hurricanes resulted in increased continental run-off and high sedimentation rates that affected assemblage response to the PETM.

Self-Trail J. M., Powars D. S., Watkins D. K., Wandless G. A., in press. Calcareous nannofossil assemblage changes across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: evidence from a shelf setting. Marine Micropaleontology. doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2012.05.003. Article.


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