SOME LIKE IT HOT: META-ANALYSIS OF MICROFOSSIL COMMUNITY RESPONSES TO RAPID GLOBAL WARMING
Combining all taxa from all events results in an overall increase in species richness (in the interval preceding the thermal maxima diversity is lower than during the thermal maxima). When considering each event separately, both the Paleocene-Eocene and late Maastrichtian thermal maxima caused a significant increase in species diversity, although the mid-Paleocene biotic event did not show a significant change in community diversity. Planktonic communities display a significant increase in diversity during all three thermal maxima, while benthic communities experienced a significant loss of diversity. Community structure (as measured by evenness, rank-abundance curves, and ordination techniques) changes during thermal maxima, regardless of event or taxonomic group, and is not directly related to changes in diversity. The results of this study reveal that communities will respond in different, but potentially predictable, ways to global warming. This highlights the importance of understanding an ecosystem before making conservation decisions or predictions about changing biodiversity in response to climate change.