National Academies Press: OpenBook

Effects of Past Global Change on Life (1995)

Chapter: REFERENCES

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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 91
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
×
Page 92
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
×
Page 93

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CRETACEOUS-TERTIARY (K/T) MASS EXTINCTION: EFFECT OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CALCAREOUS 91 MICROPLANKTON fore the K/T boundary. The major adverse effect of the global environmental change is seen in the rapid but gradual post-K/T faunal, floral, and δ13C changes in low latitudes. 4. Changes in the marine environment are inferred from δ18O and δ13 C depth stratification of Cretaceous planktic foraminiferal species. We demonstrate that faunal differences between neritic and bathyal depths are due primarily to changes in paleodepth and their effect on the thermocline and vertical stratification of species. Most surprising, however, is the total disappearance of deep and intermediate water dwellers (as well as some surface dwellers) at or before the K/T boundary in all sections. Only surface water dwellers survived the K/T boundary. This implies that the global environmental change preferentially eliminated deeper habitats first, favoring survival in surface waters, or that subsurface dwellers were less able to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Environmental changes, however, seem to have been gradual beginning 100,000 to 300,000 yr before the end of the Cretaceous; accelerating at the boundary; and reaching a negative maximum between about 10,000 and 40,000 yr after the boundary, coincident with maximum low primary marine surface productivity in low latitudes. Return to a more stable ecosystem and increased marine productivity does not occur until about 250,000 to 350,000 yr after the K/T boundary. There is no single cause that can account for this prolonged environmental change. Hallam (1989) has consistently advocated sea-level changes as a major cause of faunal turnover. The latest Maastrichtian sea-level regression followed by a rapid transgression across the K/T boundary and into the early Tertiary (Brinkhuis and Zachariasse, 1988 Donovan et al., 1988, Schmitz et al., 1992; Keller et al., 1993), however, has largely been ignored as an important factor in the K/T faunal transition. The data presented here in terms of the differential nature of hiatus patterns in the deep-sea and neritic environment, the selective nature of pre-K/T species extinctions, and the elimination of all deep- and intermediate-dwelling planktic foraminifera at the K/T boundary all point toward sea-level change as a major contributor, if not causal factor. The late Maastrichtian sea-level regression reached a maximum just before the K/T boundary, followed by a rapid transgression into the earliest Tertiary (Figure 4.3). Elimination of deeper-dwelling species could have occurred as a result of the breakdown in the water mass structure, a change in thermocline, expansion of the oxygen minimum zone, and decreased productivity. However, many sea-level changes of equal or greater magnitude have occurred during the past 100 m.y., and none has resulted in a complete change of marine plankton over a few 100,000 yr. Thus, sea-level change is probably only one, although perhaps the major, contributing factor to the K/T faunal transition. Other environmental changes (volcanism, bolide impact) may have accelerated the demise of a Cretaceous fauna already on the decline. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We thank the reviewers H. Thierstein and W. Berger for their critical and helpful comments, and we gratefully acknowledge contributions from N. MacLeod, I. Canudo, S. D'Hondt, S. Gartner, and J. Pospichal. This research was supported by NSF Grants OCE 90-21338 and EAR 91-15044 to G.K. REFERENCES Alvarez, W., L. W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H. V. Michel (1980). Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, Science 208, 1095-1108. Barrera, E., and B. T. Huber (1990). Evolution of Antarctic Water during the Maastrichtian: Foraminifer oxygen and carbon isotope ratios, Leg 113, in Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results 113, P. S. Barker, J. P. Kennett et al., eds., Ocean Drilling Program, College Station, Texas, pp. 813-827. Barrera, E., and G. Keller (1990). Foraminiferal stable isotope evidence for gradual decrease of marine productivity and Cretaceous species survivorship in the earliest Danian, Paleoceanography, 5, 867-890. Barrera, E., and G. Keller (1994). Productivity across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in high latitudes, Geological Society of America Bulletin, in press. Beeson, D., S. Gartner, G. Keller, N. MacLeod, J. Médus, and R. Rocchia (in preparation). Multidisciplinary stratigraphy and depositional environment across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at the Brazos River, Falls County, Texas, Palaios. Berger, W. H. (1970). Biogenous deep-sea sediments: Fractionation by deep-sea circulation, Geological Society of America Bulletin 81, 1385-1402. Berger, W. H., and E. L. Winterer (1974). Plate stratigraphy and fluctuating carbonate line, International Association of Sedimentology Special Publication 1, 11-48. Berggren, W. A. (1962). Some planktonic foraminifera from the Maastrichtian and type Danian stages of southern Scandinavia, Stockholm Contributions in Geology 9(1), 1-102. Boersma, A., and N. J. Shackleton (1981). Oxygen and carbon isotope variations and planktonic foraminiferal depth habitats: Late Cretaceous to Paleocene, central Pacific, DSDP Sites 463 and 465, Leg 65, in Initial Reports of the Deep-Sea Drilling Project 65, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., pp. 513-526. Brinkhuis, W., and W. J. Zachariasse (1988). Dinoflagellate cysts, sea-level changes and planktonic foraminifers across the Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary at El Haria, northwest Tunisia, Marine Micropaleontology 13, 153-191. Canudo, I. J., G. Keller, and E. Molina (1991). K/T boundary extinction pattern and faunal turnover at Agost and Caravaca, SE Spain, Marine Micropaleontology 17, 319-341.

CRETACEOUS-TERTIARY (K/T) MASS EXTINCTION: EFFECT OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CALCAREOUS 92 MICROPLANKTON D'Hondt, S., and G. Keller (1991). Some patterns of planktic foraminiferal assemblage turnover at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Marine Micropaleontology 17, 77-118. Donovan, A. D., G. R. Baum, G. L. Blechschmidt, T. S. Loutit, C. E. Pflum, and P. R. Vail (1988). Sequence stratigraphic setting of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in central Alabama, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Special Publication No. 42, 300-307. Douglas, R. G., and S. M. Savin (1978). Oxygen isotope evidence for depth stratification of Tertiary and Cretaceous planktic foraminifera, Marine Micropaleontology 3, 175-196. Hallam, A. (1989). The case for sea-level change as a dominant causal factor in mass extinction of marine invertebrates, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 325, 437-455. Haq, B. U., J. Hardenbol, and P. R. Vail (1987). 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CRETACEOUS-TERTIARY (K/T) MASS EXTINCTION: EFFECT OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON CALCAREOUS 93 MICROPLANKTON Perch-Nielsen, K. (1979a). Calcareous nanofossils at the K/T boundary in Tunisia, in KT Boundary Events, W. A. Christensen and R. G. Bromley, eds., University of Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 238-243. Perch-Nielsen, K. (1979b). Calcareous nannofossils from the Cretaceous between the North Sea and the Mediterranean, International Union of Geological Sciences, Ser. A 6, 223-272. Perch-Nielsen, K. (1981). Nouvelles observations sur les nannofossiles calcaires á la limite Crétacé/Tertiaire prés de El Kef, Tunisie, Cah. Micropaléontol. 3, 25-36. Perch-Nielsen, K. (1982). Maastrichtian coccoliths in the Danian survivors or reworked ''dead bodies," Abstract IAS. Perch-Nielsen, K. (1985). Cenozoic calcareous nannofossils. Mesozoic calcareous nannofossils, in Plankton Stratigraphy, H. M. Bolli, J. B. Saunders, and K. Perch-Nielsen, eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,pp. 329-554. 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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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