Early Miocene climate and biomes of Turkey: Evidence from leaf fossils, dispersed pollen, and petrified wood

Denk T., Guner H. T. , Bouchal J. M.

PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY, cilt.530, ss.236-248, 2019 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)

  • Cilt numarası: 530
  • Basım Tarihi: 2019
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.05.042
  • Sayfa Sayısı: ss.236-248


The early Miocene was a period of major palaeogeographic reorganization in the eastern Mediterranean region, during which time the Anatolian Plateau became subaerial and several intracontinental basins intermittently became connected to the Paratethys and Mediterranean seas. In this paper, we analyse early Miocene vegetation and climate using leaf records, palynological assemblages, and fossil wood at 36 localities from western and central Turkey, most of which have precise age control based on radiometric dating and mammal faunal ages. Using the leaf flora of Giivem (Bes Konak, Kesekoy), Climate Leaf-Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP) analyses and Koppen signatures were employed to infer a palaeoclimate typical of modern laurel forest regions. Based on the palynological records, abundance of various pollen-taxa was used as a measure of openness of vegetation and regional presence of major tree taxa. Most pollen floras are dominated by tree pollen (ranging from 85 to 98%) and indicated widespread afforestation. In the pollen diagrams, shifts in dominance from swamp forest elements (Taxodioideae) to well-drained forests (Pinaceae) indicate changes in lake levels or phases of basin development. Such shifts may have been associated with the development of more xeric forest vegetation. Wood anatomical features such as false tree rings further may indicate seasonal climate. Pollen diagrams and macrofossils reflect zonal and azonal broadleaf and needleleaf forest and extrazonal open vegetation. The latter occurred in areas with shallow soils on volcanic rocks or limestone (e.g. cycads, Dracaena), or coastal areas (herb dominance). Taxonomic composition and biogeographic affinities suggest laurel forest as a major forest biome on well-drained soils and ecotones between laurel forest and broadleaf deciduous forest biomes. A comparison with younger floras shows that these are neither more diverse nor more warmth-loving despite an increase in global temperature (Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum) suggesting bottlenecks during previous (Oligocene) cooler times for warmth-loving taxa.