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Paleobotanical Section

Kouwenberg, Lenny [1], McElwain, Jennifer [1].

Stomatal frequency analysis as a new tool for paleo-elevation reconstructions.

The predictable decline of CO2 partial pressure with increasing elevation (and decreasing barometric air pressure), independent of climate or latitude, allows for the estimation of paleo-elevations through reconstruction of paleo-CO2 partial pressures. Over the past decades, the inverse relationship between stomatal frequency on plant leaves and atmospheric CO2 levels has often been used to investigate past CO2 levels in connection to climate change. However, although for several plant species increasing stomatal numbers have been reported with rising altitude, estimation of past elevations from stomatal frequency studies has not been undertaken yet. In this study, the potential for stomatal analysis to reveal altitudinal changes will be assessed for several tree species, both angiosperms and conifers. Quercus kelloggii has already been shown to respond sensitively to CO2 changes associated with altitude, and this response is also tested for several conifer species, since conifers might be more suitable for the reconstruction of paleo CO2 partial pressures under higher atmospheric CO2 regimes, such as the Eocene. As a first attempt to establish the accuracy and sensitivity of this method, new paleo-elevation estimates will be presented for Miocene paleofloras from the western USA.

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1 - Field Museum of Natural History, Department of Geology, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60605, USA

carbon dioxide
stomatal frequency

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 33-66
Location: Salon C, D & E - Gov Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:454

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