Articles | Volume 14, issue 1
Research article
15 Jan 2018
Research article |  | 15 Jan 2018

Tropical Atlantic climate and ecosystem regime shifts during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Joost Frieling, Gert-Jan Reichart, Jack J. Middelburg, Ursula Röhl, Thomas Westerhold, Steven M. Bohaty, and Appy Sluijs

Data sets

959D PETM Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages and other data files J. Frieling, G.-J. Reichart, J. Middelburg, U. Röhl, T. Westerhold, S. Bohaty, and A. Sluijs

Short summary
Past periods of rapid global warming such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum are used to study biotic response to climate change. We show that very high peak PETM temperatures in the tropical Atlantic (~ 37 ºC) caused heat stress in several marine plankton groups. However, only slightly cooler temperatures afterwards allowed highly diverse plankton communities to bloom. This shows that tropical plankton communities may be susceptible to extreme warming, but may also recover rapidly.