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Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution

Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L.; Elmore, Aurora C.; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J.; Elderfield, Henry

Authors

Sev Kender

Erin L. McClymont

Aurora C. Elmore

Dario Emanuele

Henry Elderfield



Abstract

Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise 450% of eukaryotebiomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal ‘bloom’ nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at B0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity.

Citation

Kender, S., McClymont, E. L., Elmore, A. C., Emanuele, D., Leng, M. J., & Elderfield, H. (2016). Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution. Nature Communications, 7(1), https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11970

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 17, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 17, 2016
Publication Date Jun 17, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 7, 2016
Journal Nature Communications
Electronic ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Article Number 11970
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11970
Keywords Earth sciences, Climate science, Ecology, Oceanography
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/34725
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11970
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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