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Ostracod eye size: A taxonomy-free indicator of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum sea level

April 28, 2021

Deep-time sea-level changes associated with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) are of great interest to paleoceanographers and paleontologists, especially in shallow marine settings, like the Atlantic Coastal Plain PETM sections of the Eastern North American Continental Shelf. Accurate paleo-water depth reconstruction is essential to properly interpret and contextualize any PETM-associated paleoceanographic and paleoecological changes that are depth-dependent. In addition, our understanding on eustatic sea-level changes in the greenhouse world without polar ice sheets remains limited. Despite this importance of an accurate and robust paleodepth reconstruction, all water depth estimation methods applied for the shallow marine PETM sections suffer from uncertainties and intrinsic/logical flaws. It is therefore important to develop and apply an independent water depth proxy to complement and validate paleodepth estimates derived from the traditional estimation methods based on sedimentary fossil components and lithological features. Here we present the relative eye size of sighted ostracods as a taxonomy-free water depth proxy and apply it to shallow-marine PETM paleodepth reconstruction of the Mattawoman Creek-Billingsley Road (MCBR) core in Maryland, eastern USA. We identified a significant and rapid reduction in water depth of ~40 m within the carbon isotope excursion (CIE) onset consistent with the previous estimation based on benthic foraminifer species associations. This ostracod-eye-based paleodepth reconstruction improves current understanding on the regional paleobathymetry of the Salisbury Embayment and facilitates future studies on continental shelf paleoceanography and paleoecology during the PETM, a rapid, extreme global warming event under long-term greenhouse conditions, which possibly parallels the ongoing anthropogenic warming.

Publication Year 2022
Title Ostracod eye size: A taxonomy-free indicator of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum sea level
DOI 10.1016/j.marmicro.2021.101994
Authors Skye Y Tian, Moriaki Yasuhara, Marci M. Robinson, Huai-Hsuan M Huang
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Micropaleontology
Index ID 70226604
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Florence Bascom Geoscience Center