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Title: Hantkeninid planktonic foraminifera and eocene palaeoceanographic change.
Author: Coxall, Helen Katherine.
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2000
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The morphological and ecologicalevolution of middle-upper Eocene planktonic foraminiferal family Hantkeninidae is investigated in the context of the dramatic palaeoceanographic and climatic changes that marked the transition from Paleogene "greenhouse" to Neogene "icehouse" climatic conditions. Morphometric analysis proves that evolution in family Hantkeninidae was gradual but complex in detail with periods of relative stasis. Multiple lines of evidence demonstrate that Hantkenina evolved from planispiral clavate genus Clavigerinella and not, as was previously believed, from Pseudohastigerina micra. The ancestor of Clavigerinella was probably a low trochospiral form Paragloborotalia sp., which has been recognized for the first time in this study at a number of sites. Trends in chamber inflation, tubulospine angle and the position of the tubulospine on each chamber show the most dramatic evolutionary changes, indicating that these are the most useful characters for taxonomy. These morphological changes correlate well with known palaeoceanographic changes as well as the shift in hantkeninid ecology from a deep to a surface water habitat. Hantkeninids underwent pronounced adaptive evolution in depth habitats during the initial phase of the climatic transition. Lower middle Eocene forms lived in a cool deep-water environment within or below the oceanic thermocline and shifted to warmer surface waters in the late middle Eocene. They evolved in the low latitudes and were primarily. a tropical-subtropical group. The occurrence of Hantkenma australis at relatively high northerly and southerly latitudes during the middle Eocene may record a temporary expansion of warmer water conditions into these regions, possibly representing a hitherto unknown "hyperthermal" event. Clavigerinella is rare in middle Eocene open-ocean sequences but occasionally occurs in relative abundance in other localities (such as on continental margins and oceanic seamounts), suggesting that it was specialized for living in upwelling regions. A revised taxonomy of family Hantkeninidae is presented that reflects new understanding ofhantkeninid evolution. The reconstructed phylogeny demonstrates that the tubulospine-bearing genera Hantkenina and Cribrohantkenina represent a monophyletic clade. Multivariate analysis suggests that more than one morphological population existed at several times and that these may represent biological species. The results demonstrate that the hantkeninids are not merely passive recorders of ocean conditions but have instead evolved morphology and changed habitat in response to climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecological evolution; Climate; Greenhouse Oceanography Geology Mineralogy Sedimentology