Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2024-28
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2024-28
13 May 2024
 | 13 May 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Impact of the Late Miocene Cooling on the loss of coral reefs in the Central Indo-Pacific

Benjamin Fredericks Petrick, Lars Reuning, Miriam Pfeiffer, Gerald Auer, and Lorenz Schwark

Abstract. The Late Miocene Cooling (LMC) has been recognized as a global event in the climate record and posited as the start of modern ecosystems. Whereas shifts in modern terrestrial ecosystems around 7.0 – 5.5 Ma occur globally, little is known about changes in aquatic ecosystems. This is especially true of shallow water carbonate ecosystems, such as coral reefs, where few good proxy records exist. A “reef gap” existed during the Pliocene in the area of the Central Indo-Pacific, where reefs that had been present during the Messinian (7 – 5 Ma) drowned by the Early Pliocene (5 – 3 Ma). Here, we present a TEX86H-based sea surface temperature (SST) record for the Coral Sea, suggesting that the LMC was more pronounced than previously thought. During the LMC, the SSTs at ODP Site 811 declined by about 2 °C, and cooling lasted from 7 Ma to possibly as late as 5 Ma. This level of cooling has also been seen in other parts of the Central Indo-Pacific. Previous research showed that coral reefs across the Central Indo-Pacific experienced a major ecosystem change, leading to the collapse of the coral reefs by 5 Ma. This event led to a lack of coral reefs during the Pliocene, an event that has often been described as the “Pliocene reef gap.” The timing of the onset of this event matches the cooling in the records. This suggests that the LMC was a final stressor that provided a regional driver for the collapse of reefs and, therefore, a potential cause for the “Pliocene Coral Gap.” The relatively rapid and intense change in SST and other stressors associated with the cooling caused coral reef systems to collapse across the Central Indo-Pacific.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Benjamin Fredericks Petrick, Lars Reuning, Miriam Pfeiffer, Gerald Auer, and Lorenz Schwark

Status: open (until 08 Jul 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Benjamin Fredericks Petrick, Lars Reuning, Miriam Pfeiffer, Gerald Auer, and Lorenz Schwark

Data sets

ODP site 811 SSTs Benjamin Petrick, Lars Reuning, Miriam Pfeiffer, Gerald Auer, and Lorenz Schwark https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10902264

Benjamin Fredericks Petrick, Lars Reuning, Miriam Pfeiffer, Gerald Auer, and Lorenz Schwark

Viewed

Total article views: 195 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
141 50 4 195 13 10
  • HTML: 141
  • PDF: 50
  • XML: 4
  • Total: 195
  • BibTeX: 13
  • EndNote: 10
Views and downloads (calculated since 13 May 2024)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 13 May 2024)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 214 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 214 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 29 May 2024
Download
Short summary
It is known that there was a lack of coral reefs in the Central Indo-Pacific during the Pliocene. The cause of this is unknown. This study uses a new SST record biased on biomarkers from the Coral Sea between 11–2 Ma to demonstrate a 2-degree cooling in the Central Indo-Pacific as part of the Late Miocene Cooling. When combined with other impacts associated with this event, this might explain the collapse of coral reefs. The new data shows the importance of SST changes in Coral Reef loss.