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 Paläontologie und Historische Geologie
Letzte Änderung
11.03.2009
 

Impact of gateway closure on carbonate ecosystem diversification

P. Schäfer, J. Reijmer (Geomar) B. Bader, Kerstin Schirmer, Thorsten Bauch


DFG in der Forschergruppe „Ozeanpassagen“ Kooperation mit Projektantragstellern und Mitarbeitern in der Forschergruppe


The theme focusses on the development of the present-day carbonate ecosystems at the Pacific side of Panamá, which is related to the Miocene/Pliocene clusure of the Panamá gateway. The final gateway clusure around 2.73 Ma led to formation of the West Atlantic warm pool in the Caribbean while upwelling conditions driven by the west-bound trade winds regionally increased along the Pacific coast of Panamá. In the Gulf of Panamá, the present-day carbonate producing benthic ecosystem has adapted itself to this new situation governed by increased nutrient supply through upwelling. In contrast, coral reefs of the Gulf of Chiriquí represent a relict reef ecosystem that presumably was widespread in the Caribbean before the closure of the isthmus. The sedimentological and geochemical comparision between carbonate factories that occur along the Pacific coast of Panamá will expand our knwoledge on the interaction between the ocean environment, facies patterns, and evolution of biota resulting from the Panamá closure. Stable isotopes/trace element signals found in coarals, mollusks, coralline algae and bryozoans are used to reconstruct oceanographic and climatic variations (seasonal patterns, El Nino, trade wind intensity triggered by NAO) and their impact on tropical carbonate production.