Forests and Climates of Antarctica: Signals From Fossil Wood

Check out the video-speech from Laura Tilley

This talk presents a new detailed and robust reconstruction of terrestrial Paleocene climates of the Antarctic Peninsula using a newly studied fossil wood assemblage from Seymour Island. Multiple methods were applied to the fossil wood including growth ring analyses, angiosperm anatomy analyses, the Vulnerability Index, Mesomorphy Index and Coexistence Analyses. Specific Gravity was also calculated for the first time on Antarctic fossil wood. The taxonomic identification of the fossil wood specimens and their exact locality long the sedimentary succession were taken into consideration when interpreting the results, particularly, for differentiating climate signals from non-climate factors. The results reveal that the forests resembled those occurring today in warm to cool temperate southern Chile, South Eastern Australia and New Zealand based on the presence of wood types similar to Nothofagus (Southern Beech), Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle), Podocarps, etc. Mean growth ring width analysis suggests a trend towards cooler/dryer climates from the Early to the early Late Paleocene, and warmer/wetter climates in Late Paleocene. Specific gravity provided further support for temperate climate conditions and insight into the ecology and growth habits of trees that grew on the Antarctica Peninsula. Results are generally consistent with previously published Paleocene climate records from the Antarctica, the broader Southern Hemisphere and the global benthic isotope records.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

In order to facilitate the use of our website, we use cookies.

Please confirm if you accept our tracking cookies. When declining the cookies, you can continue visiting the website without sending data to third party services. Read our complete cookie statement here.