Climate change and faunal turnover: testing the mechanics of the turnover-pulse hypothesis with South African fossil data

Faith, J. Tyler and Behrensmeyer, Anna K. (2013) Climate change and faunal turnover: testing the mechanics of the turnover-pulse hypothesis with South African fossil data. Paleobiology, 39 4: 609-627. doi:10.1666/12043


Author Faith, J. Tyler
Behrensmeyer, Anna K.
Title Climate change and faunal turnover: testing the mechanics of the turnover-pulse hypothesis with South African fossil data
Journal name Paleobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0094-8373
1938-5331
Publication date 2013-08
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1666/12043
Volume 39
Issue 4
Start page 609
End page 627
Total pages 19
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher Paleontological Society
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The turnover-pulse hypothesis (TPH) makes explicit predictions concerning the potential responses of species to climate change, which is considered to be a major cause of faunal turnover (extinction, speciation, and migration). Previous studies have tested the TPH primarily by examining temporal correlations between turnover pulses and climatic events. It is rarely possible to dissect such correlations and observe turnover as it is occurring or to predict how different lineages will respond to climate change. Thus, whether climate change drives faunal turnover in the manner predicted by the TPH remains unclear. In this study, we test the underlying mechanics of the TPH using well-dated Quaternary ungulate records from southern Africa's Cape Floristic Region (CFR). Changes in sea level, vegetation, and topographic barriers across glacial-interglacial transitions in southern Africa caused shifts in habitat size and configuration, allowing us to generate specific predictions concerning the responses of ungulates characterized by different feeding habits and habitat preferences. Examples from the CFR show how climatically forced vegetation change and allopatry can drive turnover resulting from extinction and migration. Evidence for speciation is lacking, suggesting either that climate change does not cause speciation in these circumstances or that the evolutionary outcome of turnover is contingent on the nature and rate of climate change. Migrations and extinctions are observed in the CFR fossil record over geologically short time intervals, on the order of Milankovitch-scale climate oscillations. We propose that such climate oscillations could drive a steady and moderate level of faunal turnover over 104-year time scales, which would not be resolved in paleontological records spanning 105 years and longer. A turnover pulse, which is a marked increase in turnover relative to previous and subsequent time periods, requires additional, temporally constrained climatic forcing or other processes that could accelerate evolutionary change, perhaps mediated through biotic interactions.
Keyword Turnover pulse hypothesis
Cape Floristic Region
Climate change
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 28 Aug 2013, 09:44:29 EST by Tyler Faith on behalf of School of Social Science