Field of Science

New Data on Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Through the Triassic-Jurassic Transistion

Bonis, N. R., Van Konijnenburg-Van Cittert, J. H. A., and W. M. Kürschner. in press. Changing CO2 conditions during the end-Triassic inferred from stomatal frequency analysis on Lepidopteris ottonis (Goeppert) Schimper and Ginkgoites taeniatus (Braun) Harris, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2010), doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.05.034

End-Triassic fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration were reconstructed by the use of stomatal frequency analysis on a single plant species: the seedfern Lepidopteris ottonis (Goeppert) Schimper. Stomatal index showed no distinct intra- and interpinnule variation which makes it a suitable proxy for past relative CO2 changes. Records of decreasing stomatal index and density from the bottom to the top of the Rhaetian– Hettangian Wüstenwelsberg section (Bavaria, Germany) indicate rising CO2 levels during the Triassic–Jurassic transition. Additionally, stomatal frequency data of fossil ginkgoalean leaves (Ginkgoites taeniatus (Braun) Harris) suggest a maximum palaeoatmospheric CO2 concentration of 2750 ppmv for the latest Triassic.

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