Abstract

Benthic foraminiferal assemblages from Santa Barbara Basin exhibit major faunal and ecological switches associated with late Quaternary millennial- to decadal-scale global climate oscillations. Repeated turnovers of entire faunas occurred rapidly (<40–400 yr) without extinction or speciation in conjunction with Dansgaard-Oeschger shifts in thermohaline circulation, ventilation, and climate, confirming evolutionary model predictions of Roy et al. Consistent faunal successions of dysoxic taxa during successive interstadials reflect the extreme sensitivity and adaptation of the benthic ecosystem to the rapid environmental changes that marked the late Quaternary and possibly other transitional intervals in the history of the Earth's ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere system. These data support the hypothesis that broad segments of the biosphere are well adapted to rapid climate change.

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