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The Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE) is marked by major palaeoenvironmental and palaeoceanographical changes on a global scale, associated with a severe disturbance of the global carbon cycle and organic-rich facies deposition. Here, a multiproxy approach (petrographic and geochemical techniques) was applied to the study of the organic content of the T-OAE of the Paris Basin, whose phytoplanktonic origin has been previously inferred by its geochemical signature.

The top of the tenuicostatum Zone is characterized by palynomorphs and marine phytoplankton-derived amorphous organic matter (AOM), representing a proximal marine environment with emplacement of euxinic conditions at the top (total organic carbon/sulfur content and increase in AOM). At the base of the serpentinum Zone the proliferation of bacterial biomass begins, with phytoplankton playing a secondary role. This indicates the development of stagnant and restrictive conditions in a proximal environment, with water column stratification (neohop-13(18)-ene). The majority of the serpentinum Zone is dominated by bacterial biomass, suggesting a marine environment with bottom-water stagnation, possibly related to basin palaeogeomorphology and circulation patterns, with episodic euxinia.

This therefore suggests that the T-OAE organic fraction is dominated by bacterial biomass, not phytoplankton, showing the importance of an integrated approach to the determination of the organic facies.

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