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Spatial and temporal diversity trends in an extra-tropical, megathermal vegetation type: the early Palaeogene pollen and spore record from the US Gulf Coast

Jardine, Phillip Edward (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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During the early Palaeogene warm interval megathermal climatic regimes expanded beyond their current tropical limits. The early Palaeogene sporomorph (pollen and spore) record of the US Gulf Coastal Plain (GCP) documents an extra-tropical vegetation type that developed under these megathermal climatic conditions. It is therefore suitable to address hypotheses concerning the importance of tropical climates in controlling low latitude spatial and temporal diversity patterns. Here, I construct a new sporomorph dataset comprising 151 samples, 41831 counted specimens and 214 sporomorph morphotypes. Fifty-nine of these morphotypes were not found in the published literature and are newly described. I demonstrate that previous studies of the GCP sporomorph record that have relied on biostratigraphic datasets have underestimated the true species richness of this region. Compositional heterogeneity was important for maintaining regional species richness on the GCP. The rate and scale dependency of spatial turnover in Holocene tropical and extra-tropical sporomorphs records precluded associating the GCP vegetation more closely with any particular modern biome, however. Finally, I show that warming extra-tropical regions to megathermal levels did not stimulate increased speciation there, which does not support a direct control of temperature on speciation rate in the low latitudes.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Harrington, Guy
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science
Subjects:GE Environmental Sciences
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2953
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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