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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Apr 14;112(15):4684-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417130112. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Response of seafloor ecosystems to abrupt global climate change.

Author information

1
Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis, Bodega Bay, CA 94923; semoffitt@ucdavis.edu.
2
Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis, Bodega Bay, CA 94923; Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616;
3
Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA 94118; and.
4
Department of Earth Sciences and Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is predicted to decrease oceanic oxygen (O2) concentrations, with potentially significant effects on marine ecosystems. Geologically recent episodes of abrupt climatic warming provide opportunities to assess the effects of changing oxygenation on marine communities. Thus far, this knowledge has been largely restricted to investigations using Foraminifera, with little being known about ecosystem-scale responses to abrupt, climate-forced deoxygenation. We here present high-resolution records based on the first comprehensive quantitative analysis, to our knowledge, of changes in marine metazoans (Mollusca, Echinodermata, Arthropoda, and Annelida; >5,400 fossils and trace fossils) in response to the global warming associated with the last glacial to interglacial episode. The molluscan archive is dominated by extremophile taxa, including those containing endosymbiotic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (Lucinoma aequizonatum) and those that graze on filamentous sulfur-oxidizing benthic bacterial mats (Alia permodesta). This record, from 16,100 to 3,400 y ago, demonstrates that seafloor invertebrate communities are subject to major turnover in response to relatively minor inferred changes in oxygenation (>1.5 to <0.5 mL⋅L(-1) [O2]) associated with abrupt (<100 y) warming of the eastern Pacific. The biotic turnover and recovery events within the record expand known rates of marine biological recovery by an order of magnitude, from <100 to >1,000 y, and illustrate the crucial role of climate and oceanographic change in driving long-term successional changes in ocean ecosystems.

KEYWORDS:

abrupt climate change; deglaciation; metazoans; oxygen minimum zone; seafloor ecosystems

PMID:
25825727
PMCID:
PMC4403169
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1417130112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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