Diversity of recent planktonic foraminifera in the southern Indian Ocean and Late Pleistocene paleotemperatures

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Planktonic foraminiferal assemblages have been examined in 25 trigger core top samples and 51 piston core top samples collected between latitudes 28° S and 55° S and longitudes 79° E and 120° E from the southern Indian Ocean during cruises of the U.S.N.S. Eltanin. Samples taken from water depths exceeding 4000 m and/or showing evidence of calcium carbonate dissolution were eliminated from further analysis. The final piston core data set consists of 34 samples; the trigger core data set containing 21 samples. A close relationship exists between changes in the planktonic foraminiferal assemblages in the surface sediments and surface water temperatures. Species diversity values were computed for each of the core top assemblages using the Shannon-Wiener Index and the Brillouin Index, each of which takes into consideration the number of species and the proportionment of individuals among the species. The Shannon and Brillouin diversity values for all samples are positively correlated (correlation coefficient (r) = +.999). Regression analysis of latitude versus Shannon diversity values in the trigger core samples clearly shows a decrease in diversity with increasing latitude (r = -.979). Furthermore, a strong correlation (r = +.977) exists between decreasing species diversity (Shannon) and decreasing average summer-winter temperature of the overlying surface waters. A paleotemperature equation derived from the relationship of diversity in trigger core samples and surface water temperature was used to generate paleotemperature curves for five trigger cores and a 6 m piston core of Late Pleistocene age, located beneath the present position of the Subtropical Convergence. A 7-8° C temperature range is suggested between the interglacial and glacial episodes in this Late Pleistocene sequence, and probably reflects latitudinal shifts of the Subtropical Convergence and Australasian Front during the Late Pleistocene. © 1975.

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Quaternary Research