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Publication . Article . Other literature type . 2018

Tropical Atlantic climate and ecosystem regime shifts during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Frieling, Joost; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Middelburg, Jack J.; Röhl, Ursula; Westerhold, Thomas; Bohaty, Steven M.; Sluijs, Appy; +4 Authors
Open Access
English
Published: 15 Jan 2018 Journal: Climate of the Past, volume 14, issue 1, page 39 (issn: 1814-9324, Copyright policy )
Abstract

Abstract. The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56 Ma) was a phase of rapid global warming associated with massive carbon input into the ocean–atmosphere system from a 13C-depleted reservoir. Many midlatitude and high-latitude sections have been studied and document changes in salinity, hydrology and sedimentation, deoxygenation, biotic overturning, and migrations, but detailed records from tropical regions are lacking. Here, we study the PETM at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 959 in the equatorial Atlantic using a range of organic and inorganic proxies and couple these with dinoflagellate cyst (dinocyst) assemblage analysis. The PETM at Site 959 was previously found to be marked by a ∼ 3.8 ‰ negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE) and a ∼ 4 °C surface ocean warming from the uppermost Paleocene to peak PETM, of which ∼ 1 °C occurs before the onset of the CIE. We record upper Paleocene dinocyst assemblages that are similar to PETM assemblages as found in extratropical regions, confirming poleward migrations of ecosystems during the PETM. The early stages of the PETM are marked by a typical acme of the tropical genus Apectodinium, which reaches abundances of up to 95 %. Subsequently, dinocyst abundances diminish greatly, as do carbonate and pyritized silicate microfossils. The combined paleoenvironmental information from Site 959 and a close-by shelf site in Nigeria implies the general absence of eukaryotic surface-dwelling microplankton during peak PETM warmth in the eastern equatorial Atlantic, most likely caused by heat stress. We hypothesize, based on a literature survey, that heat stress might have reduced calcification in more tropical regions, potentially contributing to reduced deep sea carbonate accumulation rates, and, by buffering acidification, also to biological carbonate compensation of the injected carbon during the PETM. Crucially, abundant organic benthic foraminiferal linings imply sustained export production, likely driven by prokaryotes. In sharp contrast, the recovery of the CIE yields rapid (≪ 10 kyr) fluctuations in the abundance of several dinocyst groups, suggesting extreme ecosystem and environmental variability.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Environmental pollution lcsh:TD172-193.5 lcsh:Environmental protection lcsh:TD169-171.8 lcsh:Environmental sciences lcsh:GE1-350

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Dinocyst Benthic zone Literature survey Global warming Paleontology Deep sea Ecosystem Carbonate chemistry.chemical_compound chemistry Tropical Atlantic Oceanography Geology

Subjects

Paleontology, Stratigraphy, Global and Planetary Change

Funded by
EC| DINOPRO
Project
DINOPRO
From Protist to Proxy: Dinoflagellates as signal carriers for climate and carbon cycling during past and present extreme climate transitions
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 259627
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP2 | ERC
,
NWO| A sensitive ultra high pressure liquid chromatography - mass spectrometer to unlock high-resolution climate archives
Project
  • Funder: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (NWO)
  • Project Code: 2300165371
,
EC| DINOPRO
Project
DINOPRO
From Protist to Proxy: Dinoflagellates as signal carriers for climate and carbon cycling during past and present extreme climate transitions
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 259627
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP2 | ERC
,
NWO| A sensitive ultra high pressure liquid chromatography - mass spectrometer to unlock high-resolution climate archives
Project
  • Funder: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (NWO)
  • Project Code: 2300165371
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Article . 2018
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