GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 10-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


BOAG, Thomas, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Yale University, 210 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, STOCKEY, Richard, Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 320, Room 118, Stanford, CA 94305-2115 and GEARTY, William, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1101 T St, Lincoln, NE 68588

The latitudinal gradient of increasing marine biodiversity from the poles to the tropics is one of the most conspicuous biological patterns in modern oceans. Low-latitude regions of the global ocean are often hotspots of animal biodiversity, yet they are set to be most critically affected by anthropogenic climate change. As ocean temperatures rise and deoxygenation proceeds in the coming centuries, the volume of aerobically viable habitat is predicted to decrease in these zones. In contrast to the slightly asymmetrical modern latitudinal biodiversity gradient, compilations of fossil occurrences indicate peaks in biodiversity may have existed much further away from the equator in the past, with transitions between climate states hypothesized to explain this trend. We combine a new compilation of fossil mollusc occurrences, paleotemperature proxies, and biogeographic data to reveal a non-monotonic relationship between temperature and diversity in the paleontological record over the last 145 million years. We derive a metabolic model that integrates the kinetic effects of temperature on biodiversity with the recently described Metabolic Index that calculates aerobic habitat availability based on the effect of temperature on hypoxia sensitivity. Although factors such as coastal habitat area and homeothermy are important, we find strong congruence between our metabolic model and our fossil and paleotemperature meta-analysis. We therefore suggest that the effects of ocean temperature on the aerobic scope of marine ectotherms is a primary driver of migrating biodiversity peaks through geologic time and will likely play a role in the restructuring of biodiversity under projected future climate scenarios.