Analyses of marine and terrestrial palynomorphs of Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 645 in Baffin Bay led us to define a new biostratigraphical scheme covering the late Miocene to Pleistocene based on dinocyst and acritarch assemblages. Four biozones were defined. The first one, from 438.6 m below sea floor (mbsf) to 388 mbsf, can be assigned a late Miocene to early Pliocene age (>4.5 Ma), based on the common occurrence of Cristadinium diminutivum and Selenopemphix brevispinosa. Biozone 2, spanning from an erosional unconformity to a recovery hiatus, is marked by the highest occurrences (HOs) of Veriplicidium franklinii and Cristadinium diminutivum, which suggest an early Pliocene age >3.6 Ma (∼4.5 to ∼3.6 Ma). Biozone 3, above the recovery hiatus and up to 220.94 mbsf, corresponds to a late Pliocene or early Pleistocene age based on occurrences of Bitectatodinium readwaldii, Cymatiosphaera? icenorum, and Lavradosphaera canalis. Finally, between 266.4 and 120.56 mbsf, Biozone 4, marked by the HO of Filisphaera filifera, Filisphaera microornata, and Habibacysta tectata, has an early Pleistocene age (>1.4 Ma). Our biostratigraphy implies that horizon b1 of the Baffin Bay seismic stratigraphy corresponds to the recovery hiatus at ODP Site 645, which suggests a very thick Pliocene sequence along the Baffin Island slope. Dinocyst assemblages and terrestrial palynomorphs in our records indicate that the late Miocene and (or) early Pliocene were characterized by relatively warm coastal surface waters and boreal forest or forested tundra vegetation over adjacent lands. In contrast, the early Pleistocene dinocyst assemblages above the recovery hiatus indicate cold surface waters, while pollen data suggest reduced vegetation cover on adjacent lands.

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