Schmidt, D.N., Thierstein, H.R., Bollmann, J. and Schiebel, R.
Abiotic forcing of plankton evolution in the Cenozoic
Science, 303, (5655), . (doi:10.1126/science.1090592).
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We characterize the evolutionary radiation of planktic foraminifera by the test size distributions of entire assemblages in more than 500 Cenozoic marine sediment samples, including more than 1 million tests. Calibration of Holocene size patterns with environmental parameters and comparisons with Cenozoic paleoproxy data show a consistently positive correlation between test size and surface-water stratification intensity. We infer that the observed macroevolutionary increase in test size of planktic foraminifera through the Cenozoic was an adaptive response to intensifying surface-water stratification in low latitudes, which was driven by polar cooling.
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