Pliocene expansion of C-4 vegetation in the core monsoon zone on the Indian Peninsula

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2020-12-23
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Dunlea, Ann G.
Giosan, Liviu
Huang, Yongsong
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10.5194/cp-16-2533-2020
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Abstract
The expansion of C4 vegetation during the Neogene was one of the largest reorganizations of Earth's terrestrial biome. Once thought to be globally synchronous in the late Miocene, site-specific studies have revealed differences in the timing of the expansion and suggest that local conditions play a substantial role. Here, we examine the expansion of C4 vegetation on the Indian Peninsula since the late Miocene by constructing a ∼6-million-year paleorecord with marine sediment from the Bay of Bengal at Site U1445, drilled during International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 353. Analyses of element concentrations indicate that the marine sediment originates from the Mahanadi River in the Core Monsoon Zone (CMZ) of the Indian Peninsula. Hydrogen isotopes of the fatty acids of leaf waxes reveal an overall decrease in the CMZ precipitation since the late Miocene. Carbon isotopes of the leaf wax fatty acids suggest C4 vegetation on the Indian Peninsula existed before the end of the Miocene but expanded to even higher abundances during the mid-Pliocene to mid-Pleistocene (∼3.5 to 1.5 million years ago). Similar to the CMZ on the Indian Peninsula, a Pliocene expansion or re-expansion has previously been observed in northwest Australia and in East Africa, suggesting that these tropical ecosystems surrounding the Indian Ocean remained highly sensitive to changes in hydroclimate after the initial spread of C4 plants in late Miocene.
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© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Dunlea, A. G., Giosan, L., & Huang, Y. Pliocene expansion of C-4 vegetation in the core monsoon zone on the Indian Peninsula. Climate of the Past, 16(6), (2020): 2533-2546, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2533-2020.
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Dunlea, A. G., Giosan, L., & Huang, Y. (2020). Pliocene expansion of C-4 vegetation in the core monsoon zone on the Indian Peninsula. Climate of the Past, 16(6), 2533-2546.
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