Plant community change across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in the Gulf Coastal Plain, Central Texas.


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During the early Paleogene (~58-53 million years ago), the earth experienced long-term global warming punctuated by several short-term ‘hyperthermal’ events, the largest of which is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). During this time, tropical climates expanded into extra-tropical areas and it has been hypothesized that this created a wide band of ‘paratropical’ forests, which may have expanded into the mid-latitude Northern Great Plains during the PETM. Relatively little is known about these ‘paratropical’ floras, which would have occurred across the Gulf Coastal Plain during this time. This study is focused on assessing the floras of the Gulf Coastal Plain (GCP) in Central Texas from before, during, and after the PETM. The Paleocene-Eocene flora of the central Texas GCP suggest a high turnover rate, change in plant community composition, and similar plant communities across the GCP at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary.



paleobotany. PETM. paleoecology.