Species of the acritarch genus Palaeostomocystis Deflandre 1937: Potential indicators of neritic subpolar to polar environments in Antarctica during the Cenozoic

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A palynological analysis was undertaken on 16 samples from seven piston cores collected along two offshore transects near Seymour and James Ross Islands. Diverse assemblages of reworked marine microplankton (including organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts, cymatiosphaerids, leiospheres, and other acritarchs) and terrestrial palynomorphs (including pollen and spores) were recovered from glacio-marine sediments of late Pleistocene age. Among the reworked taxa, four species belonging to the acritarch genus Palaeostomocystis Deflandre 1937 comprise up to 17% of all palynomorphs. Highest abundances were recorded from sites close to the coast. The potential use of Palaeostomocystis as a proxy for early ice-sheet development on the Antarctic margins is evaluated in light of earlier studies. This evaluation suggests that the high abundances of Palaeostomocystis on the Antarctic Peninsula reflect neritic-type environments (shallow waters, bay-like areas, or marginal seas) and sub-polar to polar conditions as exist in the Bering Sea, Greenland margins, and other subarctic to arctic areas today. © 2009 by AASP Foundation.

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