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Photosymbiosis in planktonic foraminifera across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Jack O. Shaw, Simon D'haenens, Ellen Thomas, Richard D. Norris, Johnnie A. Lyman, Andre Bornemann and Pincelli M. Hull
Photosymbiosis in planktonic foraminifera across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum
Paleobiology (November 2021) 47 (4): 632-647


Under stress, corals and foraminifera may eject or consume their algal symbionts ("bleach"), which can increase mortality. How bleaching relates to species viability over warming events is of great interest given current global warming. We use size-specific isotope analyses and abundance counts to examine photosymbiosis and population dynamics of planktonic foraminifera across the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM, approximately 56 Ma), the most severe Cenozoic global warming event. We find variable responses of photosymbiotic associations across localities and species. In the NE Atlantic (DSDP Site 401) PETM, photosymbiotic clades (acarininids and morozovellids) exhibit collapsed size-delta (super 13) C gradients indicative of reduced photosymbiosis, as also observed in Central Pacific (ODP Site 1209) and Southern Ocean (ODP Site 690) acarininids. In contrast, we find no significant loss of size-delta (super 13) C gradients on the New Jersey shelf (Millville) or in Central Pacific morozovellids. Unlike modern bleaching-induced mass mortality, populations of photosymbiont-bearing planktonic foraminifera increased in relative abundance during the PETM. Multigenerational adaptive responses, including flexibility in photosymbiont associations and excursion taxon evolution, may have allowed some photosymbiotic foraminifera to thrive. We conclude that deconvolving the effects of biology on isotope composition on a site-by-site basis is vital for environmental reconstructions.

ISSN: 0094-8373
EISSN: 1938-5331
Serial Title: Paleobiology
Serial Volume: 47
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Photosymbiosis in planktonic foraminifera across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum
Affiliation: Yale University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, New Haven, CT, United States
Pages: 632-647
Published: 202111
Text Language: English
Publisher: Paleontological Society, Lawrence, KS, United States
References: 84
Accession Number: 2022-015413
Categories: Isotope geochemistryStratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N32°38'60" - N32°40'00", E158°30'00" - E158°31'00"
S65°09'38" - S65°09'37", E01°12'18" - E01°12'18"
N39°24'17" - N39°24'17", W75°05'20" - W75°05'20"
N47°25'38" - N47°25'40", W08°48'38" - W08°48'37"
Secondary Affiliation: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA, United StatesHigh Tech High North County, San Marcos, CA, USA, United StatesBundesanstalt fuer Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Hanover, DEU, Germany
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, The Paleontological Society. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 202206
Program Name: ODPOcean Drilling Program
Program Name: DSDPDeep Sea Drilling Project
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