Late Eocene through Oligocene calcareous nannofossils from the paleo-equatorial Pacific Ocean – taxonomy, preservation history, biochronology and evolution

by Blaj, Teodora

Abstract (Summary)

This study aims to unravel the ecological and evolutionary dynamics within the calcareous nannofossil communities at the Eocene/Oligocene (E/O) transition and during the Oligocene time when Cenozoic 'icehouse' conditions were established. The main question this study aims to answer is whether the changes in the nannofossil assemblages were controlled by intrinsic evolutionary trends or if the changes were controlled by environmental factors such as changes in temperature and nutrient availability in the surface water. These questions are addressed with detailed analyses of the taxonomy, biostratigraphy and fluctuations in abundance and diversity of calcareous nannofossil assemblages from a continuous latest Eocene through Oligocene sediment section from the ODP Site 1218 (8°53.38´N, 135°22.00´W), paleo-equatorial Pacific Ocean. An improved nannofossil taxonomy and biostratigraphy has been established. At the E/O transition, changes in the nannofossil preservation mimics changes in calcium carbonate content. A detailed investigation of late Eocene and Oligocene sediments yields age estimates for ten nannofossil bioevents. Morphometric studies of the Reticulofenestra umbilicus-R. hillae show that these cannot be subdivided into two different morphospecies. Based on different morphometry and stratigraphic ranges, the Oligocene Sphenolithus lineage appears to be the result of a combined anagenetic and cladogenetic evolution. A new nannolith species is described: Triquetrorhabdulus longus. High-resolution nannofossil data indicate changes in the composition, abundance and diversity of the mid-Oligocene assemblages. Intervals of high diversity index coincide with Oi-glaciation events. However, visual examination of the variations in abundance of nannofossil taxa do not appear to correlate with changes in either oxygen or carbon isotopes. This presumably indicates that a dynamic equilibrium did not exist between these Oligocene nannoplankton assemblages and changes in surface water temperature or productivity conditions.


Bibliographical Information:


School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Earth sciences; Exogenous earth sciences; History of geology and palaeontology; marine sediments; calcareous nannofossils; late Eocene; Oligocene; biochronology; evolution; morphometry; taxonomy; ODP Leg 199 Site 1218; paleo-equatorial Pacific Ocean; Marine Geoscience; marin geovetenskap


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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