National Academies Press: OpenBook

Effects of Past Global Change on Life (1995)

Chapter: REFERENCES

« Previous: PLANT MEGAFOSSIL EVIDENCE FOR CLIMATIC CHANGE
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
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Page 182
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
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Page 183

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THE IMPACT OF CLIMATIC CHANGES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN FLORA 182 TABLE 10.1 Main Plant Groups Represented in Australian Megafossil Deposits PALAEOGENE NEOGENE Proteaceae Banksia/Hakea Myrtaceae (non-Eucalyptus) Eucalyptus Gymnostoma Casuarina Podocarpaceae Cupressaceae Araucariaeae Epacridaceae Nothofagus Chenopodiaceae Elaeocarpaceae Asteraceae Restionaceae Poaceae Lauraceae Acacia/Cassia NOTE: Taxa underlined in the right-hand column may be considered as likely direct replacements (either taxonomically or vegetationally) for those opposite them in the left-hand column. DISCUSSION If the four major types currently found in Australia are examined once more, they can be viewed in the light of major Tertiary climatic changes to the continent. The closed forests of the north and east of the continent clearly have their affinities with the greenhouse and near-greenhouse phases of Eocene Australia. Gondwanic families dominate, and in many cases the relationships are reflected at the generic level. Although there is no Eocene evidence for Eucalyptus, Acacia, or other taxa listed as Neogene in Table 10.1, Beadles's hypothesis suggests that they nonetheless could have evolved under depauperate soil conditions, but in quantities too small to be observed in the fragmentary fossil record. Then too, they may well have been initiated or survived in the mid-Eocene cooling represented by McGowran's (in Frakes et al., 1987) 8-m.y. ''hole" in Australia's fossil record. Whatever their Eocene status, the sclerophyllous plant elements that dominate the open forest and the heath scrub today either evolved or spread during the Oligocene-Miocene refrigeration. This of course was aided by the inability of the Gondwanic closed forest components to survive over large areas during this climatic deterioration. The mid-Miocene warming suggested by Frakes et al. (1987) may well have guaranteed the survival of some of those Gondwanic elements that struggled through the refrigeration, and may also be reflected in the mixture of floral provinces in some vegetation types such as the forests at Wilson's Promontory near the southern tip of Victoria. As might be expected, the macrofossil record for arid floras is poor, although Chenopodiaceae and Mimosaceae pollen is well documented from the late Miocene and Pliocene of several localities (Martin, 1981). Although for Charles Darwin the flowering plants represented the "abominable mystery," for Australian researchers it is perhaps Acacia. Although the genus is one of the few to occur in all major Australian habitats, and contains more than 650 species in Australia (Morley and Tolkein, 1983), there is only one confirmed report of fossil leaves from the late Miocene (Christophel, 1989), and pollen is not common. Thus, the explanation for the origin and spread of a genus whose distribution suggests it to be Gondwanic, and hence ancient, remains shrouded but is almost certain to be related, when once unraveled, to the changing Tertiary climates. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Much of the research for this project was supported by grants from the Australian Research Council, Alcoa of Australia, and the Adelaide University/CSIRO Granting Scheme. The figures for this chapter were prepared by Linda Allen and Leonie Jane Scriven. REFERENCES Bailey, I. W., and E. W. Sinnott (1916). The climatic distribution of certain kinds of angiosperm leaves, American Journal of Botany 3, 24-39. Beadle, N. C. W. (1966). Soil phosphate and its role in molding segments of the Australian flora and vegetation, with special reference to xeromorphy and sclerophylly, Ecology 47, 992-1007. Christophel, D. C. (1981). Tertiary megafossil floras as indicators of floristic associations and paleoclimate, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 379-390. Christophel, D. C. (1989). Evolution of the Australian flora through the Tertiary, P. Syst. Evol. 162, 63-78. Christophel, D. C., and D. T. Blackburn (1978). Tertiary megafossil flora of Maslin Bay, South Australia: A preliminary report , Alcheringa 2, 311-319. Christophel, D. C., and D. R. Greenwood (1987). A megafossil flora from the Eocene of Golden Grove, South Australia, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 111, 155-162. Christophel, D. C., and D. R. Greenwood (1988). A comparison of Australian tropical rainforest and Tertiary fossil leafbeds, in The Ecology of Australia's Wet Tropics, R. Kitching, ed., Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 15, Surrey Beatty & Sons Pty. Ltd., Chipping Norton, New South Wales, pp. 139-148. Christophel, D. C., and D. R. Greenwood (1989). Changes in climate and vegetation in Australia during the Tertiary, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 58, 95-109. Christophel, D. C., W. K. Harris, and A. K. Syber (1987). The Eocene flora of the Anglesea locality, Victoria, Alcheringa 11, 303-323. Christophel, D. C., L. J. Scriven, and D. R. Greenwood (1991). The Eocene Nelly Creek megafossil flora, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia.

THE IMPACT OF CLIMATIC CHANGES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN FLORA 183 Douglas, J. G., and J. A. Ferguson (1988). Geology of Victoria, Geological Society of Australia, 664 pp. Frakes, L., B. McGowran, and J. M. Bowler (1987). Evolution of the Australian environments, in Fauna of Australia, General Articles, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Galloway, R. W., and E. M. Kemp (1981). Late Cainozoic environments of Australia, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 51-80. Hill, R. S. (1987). Discovery of Nothofagus fruits corresponding to an important Tertiary pollen type, Nature 327, 56-57. Hill, R. S., and R. Carpenter (1991). Acomopyle in the Tertiary record of Australia, Alcheringa. Johnson, L. A. S. (1982). Notes on Casuarinaceae 2, Journal, Adelaide Botanical Garden 6, 73-87. Kemp, E. M. (1978). Tertiary climatic evolution and vegetation history in the SE Indian Ocean region, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 24, 169-208. Kemp, E. M. (1981). Tertiary paleogeography and the evolution of Australian climate, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 31-50. Kershaw, A. P. (1976). A Late Pleistocene and Holocene pollen diagram from Lynch's Crater, northeastern Queensland, Australia, New Phytologist 77, 469-498. Kershaw, A. P. (1981). Quaternary vegetation and environments, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 81-102. Kershaw, A. P., and I. R. Sluiter (1982). Late Cenozoic pollen spectra from the Atherton Tableland, northeastern Queensland, Australia, Australian Journal of Botany 30, 279-295. Martin, H. A. (1981). The Tertiary flora, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 391-406. McGowran, B. (1986). Cainozoic oceanic events: The Indo-Pacific biostratigraphic record, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 55, 247-265. McGowran, B. (1989). The later Eocene transgressions in southern Australia, Alcheringa 13, 45-68. Morley, B. D., and H. R. Toelken (1983). Flowering Plants in Australia, Rigby Press, 416 pp. Nix, H. (1982). Environmental determinants of biogeography and evolution in Terra Australis, in Evolution of the Flora and Fauna of Arid Australia, W. R. Barker and P. J. M. Greenslade, eds., Peacock Publications, South Australia, chapter 5. Ollier, C. D. (1986). The origin of alpine land forms in Australia, in Flora and Fauna of Alpine Australasia: Ages and Origins, B. Barlow, ed., CSIRO Press, Melbourne, pp. 3-25. Specht, R. L. (1981a). Major vegetation types in Australia, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 163-298. Specht, R. L. (1981b). Evolution of the Australian flora: Some generalizations, in Ecological Biogeography of Australia, A. Keast, ed., W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 783-806. Webb, L. J. (1959). A physiognomic classification of Australian rainforests, Journal of Ecology 47, 551-570. Wolfe, J. A. (1990). Palaeobotanical evidence for a marked temperature increase following the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary, Nature 343, 153-156.

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Effects of Past Global Change on Life Get This Book
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What can we expect as global change progresses? Will there be thresholds that trigger sudden shifts in environmental conditions—or that cause catastrophic destruction of life?

Effects of Past Global Change on Life explores what earth scientists are learning about the impact of large-scale environmental changes on ancient life—and how these findings may help us resolve today's environmental controversies.

Leading authorities discuss historical climate trends and what can be learned from the mass extinctions and other critical periods about the rise and fall of plant and animal species in response to global change. The volume develops a picture of how environmental change has closed some evolutionary doors while opening others—including profound effects on the early members of the human family.

An expert panel offers specific recommendations on expanding research and improving investigative tools—and targets historical periods and geological and biological patterns with the most promise of shedding light on future developments.

This readable and informative book will be of special interest to professionals in the earth sciences and the environmental community as well as concerned policymakers.

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