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Probing the ecology and climate of the Eocene Southern Ocean with sand tiger sharks Striatolamia macrota
Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced, CA, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4900-3101
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8897-7657
Department of Earth, Environment, and Planetary Sciences, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8220-8280
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7778-6772
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2020 (English)In: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, ISSN 2572-4517, E-ISSN 2572-4525, Vol. 35, no 12, article id e2020PA003997Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many explanations for Eocene climate change focus on the Southern Ocean—where tectonics influenced oceanic gateways, ocean circulation reduced heat transport, and greenhouse gas declines prompted glaciation. To date, few studies focus on marine vertebrates at high latitudes to discern paleoecological and paleoenvironmental impacts of this climate transition. The Tertiary Eocene La Meseta (TELM) Formation has a rich fossil assemblage to characterize these impacts; Striatolamia macrota, an extinct (†) sand tiger shark, is abundant throughout the La Meseta Formation. Body size is often tracked to characterize and integrate across multiple ecological dimensions. †S. macrota body size distributions indicate limited changes during TELMs 2–5 based on anterior tooth crown height (n = 450, mean = 19.6 ± 6.4 mm). Similarly, environmental conditions remained stable through this period based on δ18OPO4 values from tooth enameloid (n = 42; 21.5 ± 1.6‰), which corresponds to a mean temperature of 22.0 ± 4.0°C. Our preliminary εNd (n = 4) results indicate an early Drake Passage opening with Pacific inputs during TELM 2–3 (45–43 Ma) based on single unit variation with an overall radiogenic trend. Two possible hypotheses to explain these observations are (1) †S. macrota modified its migration behavior to ameliorate environmental changes related to the Drake Passage opening, or (2) the local climate change was small and gateway opening had little impact. While we cannot rule out an ecological explanation, a comparison with climate model results suggests that increased CO2 produces warm conditions that also parsimoniously explain the observations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2020. Vol. 35, no 12, article id e2020PA003997
Keywords [en]
Neodymium isotope analysis, oxygen isotope analysis, paleobiology, paleoclimate, Seymour Island, Temperature
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth; Ecosystems and species history
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3975DOI: 10.1029/2020PA003997OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3975DiVA, id: diva2:1515425
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2009‐4447Available from: 2021-01-08 Created: 2021-01-08 Last updated: 2021-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Kim, SoraZeichner, SarahColman, AlbertScher, HowieKRIWET, JÜRGENMörs, ThomasHuber, Matthew
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