Environmental predictors of diversity in recent planktonic foraminifera as recorded in marine sediments

Isabel Fenton, Paul Pearson, Tom Dunkley Jones, Andy Purvis

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Global diversity patterns are thought to result from a combination of environmental and his- torical factors. This study tests the set of ecological and evolutionary hypotheses proposed to explain the global variation in present-day coretop diversity in the macroperforate plank- tonic foraminifera, a clade with an exceptional fossil record. Within this group, marine sur- face sediment assemblages are thought to represent an accurate, although centennial to millennial time-averaged, representation of recent diversity patterns. Environmental vari- ables chosen to capture ocean temperature, structure, productivity and seasonality were used to model a range of diversity measures across the world’s oceans. Spatial autoregres- sive models showed that the same broad suite of environmental variables were important in shaping each of the four largely independent diversity measures (rarefied species rich- ness, Simpson’s evenness, functional richness and mean evolutionary age). Sea-surface temperature explains the largest portion of diversity in all four diversity measures, but not in the way predicted by the metabolic theory of ecology. Vertical structure could be linked to increased diversity through the strength of stratification, but not through the depth of the mixed layer. There is limited evidence that seasonal turnover explains diversity patterns. There is evidence for functional redundancy in the low-latitude sites. The evolutionary mechanism of deep-time stability finds mixed support whilst there is relatively little evidence for an out-of-the-tropics model. These results suggest the diversity patterns of planktonic foraminifera cannot be explained by any one environmental variable or proposed mecha- nism, but instead reflect multiple processes acting in concert.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0165522
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016


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