CENOZOIC CLIMATE AND LARGER BENTHIC FORAMINIFERAL BIODIVERSITY TRENDS
Cenozoic climate change is a major topic of current research. However, most studies are from deep sea records and shallow marine records are often fragmentary, despite the shallow marine environment frequently being of most concern for future global warming. Larger benthic foraminifera, have largely been neglected by climatic-impact studies, but have huge potential as tools to examine the effects of rapid climate change on the reef environment. The Cenozoic was a dynamic interval of Earth’s climatic history. A long term gradual cooling trend is punctuated by multiple instances of more rapid temperature change. The LBF also undergo a series of global overturning events, culminating with a rapid extinction of several long ranging genera at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. However the mechanisms behind these events are not well understood.
In this project, we use the close association between morphology and palaeoenvironment to create a global database of Cenozoic occurrences of LBF. Though in its early stages, this type of record has the potential to show whether major changes in distributions, diversity and evolution of key morphologies, reflecting function or life history traits, on a broad scale are linked to climatic events.