Science & Engineering Faculty

Oceanic productivity after the Cretaceous/Paleogene impact: Where do we stand? The view from the deep

Publication Date Jun 21, 2022


ABSTRACT More than four decades have passed since Walter Alvarez helped to bring mass extinctions to the attention of a broad audience and inspired extensive multidisciplinary research on a wide variety of topics ranging from the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) and other impact events to astronomy, climate modeling, and the centuries-long debate on the extent to which apparent extinctions are a real phenomenon or due to incompleteness of the fossil record. Many questions about ecosystems in the aftermath of extinctions remain, and we summarize knowledge about an integral part of this discussion, i.e., oceanic productivity after the K/Pg mass extinction. We compiled new and published benthic foraminiferal data across the K/Pg boundary globally, at geographically and bathymetrically diverse sites, to contribute to the understanding of environmental consequences of the K/Pg impact through analysis of extinction patterns in Earth’s largest habitat: the deep seafloor. We find no significant links between the severity of extinction of benthic foraminiferal species or their global decrease in diversity and factors such as the distance from the Chicxulub crater, paleo-water depth, and paleolatitude. Benthic foraminiferal populations show strong post-impact variability in space and time, supporting the hypothesis of heterogeneous oceans with extensive, local-to-regional plankton blooms, but we suggest that the apparent geographic variability may at least in part be due to incompleteness of the geological rec...


Oceanic Productivity Apparent Extinctions Paleo-water Depth Chicxulub Crater Variability In Space Largest Habitat Future Extinctions Plankton Blooms High Time Resolution Real Phenomenon

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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