Reorganization of Southern Ocean Plankton Ecosystem At the Onset of Antarctic Glaciation


Alexander J.P. Houben, Utrecht UniversityFollow
Peter K. Bijl, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific ResearchFollow
Jörg Pross, Goethe University Frankfurt
Steven M. Bohaty, Biodiversity and Climate Research CentreFollow
Sandra Passchier, Montclair State UniversityFollow
Sandra Passchier, Montclair State UniversityFollow
Ursula Röhl, University of Bremen
Saiko Sugisaki, University of California at San DiegoFollow
Lisa Tauxe, Imperial College LondonFollow
Tina Van De Flierdt, University of South FloridaFollow
Matthew Olney, CSICFollow
Francesca Sangiorgi, Biomarine SciencesFollow
Appy Sluijs, Texas A and M UniversityFollow
Carlota Escutia, RWTH Aachen UniversityFollow
Henk Brinkhuis, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchFollow
Henk Brinkhuis, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchFollow
Carlota Escutia Dotti, Colorado School of MinesFollow
Adam Klaus, Stanford University
Annick Fehr, Western Michigan UniversityFollow
Annick Fehr, Kochi UniversityFollow
Trevor Williams, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyFollow
James A.P. Bendle, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ResourcesFollow
Peter K. Bijl, Victoria University of WellingtonFollow
Steven M. Bohaty, Daito Bunka UniversityFollow
Stephanie A. Carr, University of South Florida SystemFollow
Robert B. Dunbar, Stanford UniversityFollow
Jhon J. Gonzalez, Utsunomiya University
Travis G. Hayden, Geological Survey of IndiaFollow
Masao G. Iwai, UiT The Arctic University of NorwayFollow
Francisco J. Jimenez-Espejo, Graduate University for Advanced StudiesFollow

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The circum-Antarctic Southern Ocean is an important region for global marine food webs and carbon cycling because of sea-ice formation and its unique plankton ecosystem. However, the mechanisms underlying the installation of this distinct ecosystem and the geological timing of its development remain unknown. Here, we show, on the basis of fossil marine dinoflagellate cyst records, that a major restructuring of the Southern Ocean plankton ecosystem occurred abruptly and concomitant with the first major Antarctic glaciation in the earliest Oligocene (∼33.6 million years ago). This turnover marks a regime shift in zooplankton-phytoplankton interactions and community structure, which indicates the appearance of eutrophic and seasonally productive environments on the Antarctic margin. We conclude that earliest Oligocene cooling, ice-sheet expansion, and subsequent sea-ice formation were important drivers of biotic evolution in the Southern Ocean.



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