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Early to Middle Eocene vegetation dynamics at the Wilkes Land Margin (Antarctica)
Contreras, L.; Pross, J.; Bijl, P.K.; Koutsodendris, A.; Raine, J.I.; van de Schootbrugge, B.; Brinkhuis, H. (2013). Early to Middle Eocene vegetation dynamics at the Wilkes Land Margin (Antarctica). Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 197: 119-142. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.05.009
In: Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; Lausanne; New York; Shannon; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0034-6667, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Eocene; palynology; vegetation dynamics; Antarctica

Auteurs  Top 
  • Contreras, L.
  • Pross, J.
  • Bijl, P.K.
  • Koutsodendris, A.
  • Raine, J.I.
  • van de Schootbrugge, B.
  • Brinkhuis, H., meer

Abstract
    The early Eocene epoch was characterized by extreme global warmth, which in terrestrial settings was characterized by an expansion of near-tropical vegetation belts into the high latitudes. During the middle to late Eocene, global cooling caused the retreat of tropical vegetation to lower latitudes. In high-latitude settings, near-tropical vegetation was replaced by temperate floras. This floral change has recently been traced as far south as Antarctica, where along the Wilkes Land margin paratropical forests thrived during the early Eocene and temperate, Nothofagus forests developed during the middle Eocene. Here we provide both qualitative and quantitative palynological data for this floral turnover based on a sporomorph record recovered at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1356 off the Wilkes Land margin. Following the nearest living relative concept and based on a comparison with modern vegetation types, we examine the structure and diversity patterns of the Eocene vegetation along the Wilkes Land margin. Our results indicate that the early Eocene forests along the Wilkes Land margin were characterized by a diverse canopy composed of plants that today occur in tropical settings; their richness pattern was similar to that of present-day forests from New Caledonia. The middle Eocene forests were characterized by a canopy dominated by Nothofagus and exhibited richness patterns similar to modern Nothofagus forests from New Zealand.

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