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Data report: the Late Quaternary fossil record of holoplanktonic gastropods
at IODP Sites U1395 and U13941

Deborah Wall-Palmer,2 Christopher W. Smart,2 and Malcolm B. Hart2


Living holoplanktonic gastropods (pteropods and heteropods) are a common component of the zooplankton at all latitudes and are highly sensitive indicators of surface ocean changes. Despite having a fossil record that may extend from the Jurassic, there are few detailed stratigraphic sequences of holoplanktonic gastropods and, consequently, they are rarely used in biostratigraphy. This is largely due to the susceptibility of their delicate aragonitic shells to dissolution. However, in well-preserved sediments, fossil holoplanktonic gastropods have the potential to contribute valuable information for paleoceanography, paleoecology, and stratigraphic correlation.

Here we present a ~300 ky record of holoplanktonic gastropods from two sites cored/drilled offshore of Montserrat during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 340. Oxygen isotope stratigraphy was used to produce a stratigraphic framework for each site, which was compared and correlated to the corresponding downcore abundances of holoplanktonic gastropods. In addition, the record of previously cored Site CAR-MON 2, ~15 km southwest of IODP Site U1396, was compared to data at Sites U1395 and U1394 to identify species associations that are reproducible across the area. A number of downhole distributions were found to correlate significantly across the three sites, highlighting ten key species, three of which (Heliconoides inflatus, Creseis clava, and Atlanta plana) display significant relationships to multiple holoplanktonic gastropod species. Fluctuations in species abundance were found not to be related to changes in temperature, locally or globally, and were more likely to indicate predator-prey relationships or competition for prey. This made holoplanktonic gastropod assemblages unsuitable as stratigraphic markers in this area but improves our understanding of holoplanktonic gastropod ecology in the Caribbean Sea.

1 Wall-Palmer, D., Smart, C.W., and Hart, M.B., 2015. Data report: the Late Quaternary fossil record of holoplanktonic gastropods at IODP Sites U1395 and U1394. In Le Friant, A., Ishizuka, O., Stroncik, N.A., and the Expedition 340 Scientists, Proceedings of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, 340: Tokyo (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.).

2 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, UK. Correspondence author:

Initial receipt: 26 February 2015
Acceptance: 16 August 2015
Publication: 11 December 2015
MS 340-203