Estimating soil pCO(2) using paleosol carbonates: implications for the relationship between primary productivity and faunal richness in ancient terrestrial ecosystems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we present a method for estimating soil pCO(2) in ancient environments using the measured carbon-isotope values of pedogenic carbonates and plant-derived organic matter. The validity of soil pCO(2) estimates proves to be highly dependent on the organic delta C-13 values used in the calculations. Organic matter should be sourced from the same paleosol profiles as sampled carbonates to yield the most reliable estimates of soil pCO(2). In order to demonstrate the potential use of soil pCO(2) estimates in paleoecological and paleoenvironmental studies, we compare samples from three Upper Jurassic localities. Soil pCO(2) estimates, interpreted as a qualitative indicator of primary paleoproductivity, are used to rank the Late Jurassic terrestrial environments represented by the Morrison Formation in western North America, the informally named Lourinha formation in Western Europe, and the Stanleyville Group in Central Africa. Because modern terrestrial environments show a positive correlation between primary productivity and faunal richness, a similar relationship is expected in ancient ecosystems. When the relative paleoproductivity levels inferred for each study area are compared with estimates of dinosaur generic richness, a positive correlation emerges. Both the Morrison and Lourinha formations have high inferred productivity levels and high estimated faunal richness. In contrast, the Stanleyville Group appears to have had low primary productivity and low faunal richness. Paleoclimatic data available for each study area indicate that both productivity and faunal richness are positively linked to water availability, as observed in modern terrestrial ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-604
Number of pages20
JournalPaleobiology
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • NET PRIMARY PRODUCTION;
  • EXPERIMENTAL CO2 ENRICHMENT
  • ATMOSPHERIC CO2
  • MORRISON FORMATION
  • PEDOGENIC CARBONATE
  • DIOXIDE EVOLUTION
  • SPECIES RICHNESS
  • PHANEROZOIC TIME
  • PALEOZOIC ATMOSPHERE
  • ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating soil pCO(2) using paleosol carbonates: implications for the relationship between primary productivity and faunal richness in ancient terrestrial ecosystems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this