Test sizes of planktic foraminifera from the South Atlantic

Geographical size distribution within entire Holocene foraminiferal assemblages is related to global environmental gradients such as temperature, primary productivity, and environmental variability. This study demonstrates that these correlations are also recognizable in late Quaternary assemblages from three locations in the South Atlantic on temporal and latitudinal scales. The size response to temporal paleoenvironmental changes during glacial-interglacial cycles mimics the geographic Holocene size variability. The amplitude of size variability is directly related to the amplitude of the climatic fluctuations as shown by the stable size-temperature relationship over time. The documented changes in the assemblage size are caused by species replacement and intraspecific size variability. The relative importance of these processes depends on the environmental setting. Species have been shown to reach their maximum size and abundance under certain optimum conditions and decrease in size if environmental conditions differ from these optima. We confirm that late Quaternary species sizes were largest at paleotemperatures identical to Holocene ones.



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