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Biotic and geochemical evidence for a global latitudinal shift in ocean biogeochemistry and export productivity during the late Pliocene

Biotic and geochemical evidence for a global latitudinal shift in ocean biogeochemistry and export productivity during the late Pliocene
Biotic and geochemical evidence for a global latitudinal shift in ocean biogeochemistry and export productivity during the late Pliocene
During the late Pliocene (~ 3 to 2.5 Ma), oceanic records of opal and C37 alkenone accumulation from around the world show a secular shift towards lower values in the high latitudes and higher values in the low and mid latitudes. These shifts are broadly coincident with the intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation and are suggestive of changes in export productivity, with potential implications for Pliocene atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The interpretation of a global latitudinal shift in productivity, however, requires testing because of the potential uncertainties associated with site to site comparisons of records that can be influenced by highly nonlinear processes associated with production, export, and preservation. Here, we assess the inferred Pliocene latitudinal productivity shift interpretation by presenting new records of C37 alkenone accumulation from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 982 in the North Atlantic and biotic assemblages (calcareous nannoplankton) from this site and ODP Site 846 in the eastern tropical Pacific. Our results corroborate the interpretation of C37 alkenone accumulation as a proxy for gross export productivity at these sites, indicating that large-scale productivity decreases at high latitudes and increases at tropical sites are recorded robustly. We conclude that the intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation during the late Pliocene was associated with a profound reorganisation of ocean biogeochemistry.
Pliocene, calcareous nannofossils, alkenones, productivity, biogeochemistry
0012-821X
200-210
Bolton, Clara T.
d3f550f0-1fe9-4d18-8a9c-a61034ab0280
Lawrence, Kira T.
4969730c-a5f4-4a99-87ec-13b229cbb58f
Gibbs, Samantha J.
82dfbcbc-3a8a-40da-8a80-fe7ad83f3110
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Herbert, Timothy D.
d839b710-dbca-4be2-b8c6-c11ace756e91
Bolton, Clara T.
d3f550f0-1fe9-4d18-8a9c-a61034ab0280
Lawrence, Kira T.
4969730c-a5f4-4a99-87ec-13b229cbb58f
Gibbs, Samantha J.
82dfbcbc-3a8a-40da-8a80-fe7ad83f3110
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Herbert, Timothy D.
d839b710-dbca-4be2-b8c6-c11ace756e91

Bolton, Clara T., Lawrence, Kira T., Gibbs, Samantha J., Wilson, Paul A. and Herbert, Timothy D. (2011) Biotic and geochemical evidence for a global latitudinal shift in ocean biogeochemistry and export productivity during the late Pliocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 308 (1-2), 200-210. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.05.046).

Record type: Article

Abstract

During the late Pliocene (~ 3 to 2.5 Ma), oceanic records of opal and C37 alkenone accumulation from around the world show a secular shift towards lower values in the high latitudes and higher values in the low and mid latitudes. These shifts are broadly coincident with the intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation and are suggestive of changes in export productivity, with potential implications for Pliocene atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The interpretation of a global latitudinal shift in productivity, however, requires testing because of the potential uncertainties associated with site to site comparisons of records that can be influenced by highly nonlinear processes associated with production, export, and preservation. Here, we assess the inferred Pliocene latitudinal productivity shift interpretation by presenting new records of C37 alkenone accumulation from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 982 in the North Atlantic and biotic assemblages (calcareous nannoplankton) from this site and ODP Site 846 in the eastern tropical Pacific. Our results corroborate the interpretation of C37 alkenone accumulation as a proxy for gross export productivity at these sites, indicating that large-scale productivity decreases at high latitudes and increases at tropical sites are recorded robustly. We conclude that the intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation during the late Pliocene was associated with a profound reorganisation of ocean biogeochemistry.

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More information

Published date: 1 August 2011
Keywords: Pliocene, calcareous nannofossils, alkenones, productivity, biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 193941
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/193941
ISSN: 0012-821X
PURE UUID: ab66b885-d1cb-47f8-a9de-88b7681d240b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Jul 2011 16:00
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:28

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