A Global Distribution of Late Eocene Vegetation

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Angelica M. Dulak and Jacob O Sewall, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, PA, United States
Just as climate and topography influence vegetation distribution, vegetation distribution influences regional and local climate characteristics. An accurate representation of paleovegetation can, therefore, provide better insight into a representation of late Eocene paleoclimate. We collect approximately 70 paleobotanical/fossil locations from the literature to anchor our paleovegetation distribution. The available data are separated into 11 biome possibilities, distinguished by plant coverage and surface type. These biomes provide an accurate and reasonably detailed description of vegetation in a flexible, climatically interpretable framework. Where data are available, biomes are linked to paleobotanical interpretations. In locations where data do not exist, we impose a vegetation interpretation consistent with biomes in locations with similar elevation, latitude, and geography. In all cases, interpretations are based on growth patterns and habits of modern plants of species similar to those identified in the fossil record. We present our final interpretation of late Eocene paleovegetation as a biome map with respect to the geography of the late Eocene and welcome additional data and interpretations prior to inclusion of these boundary conditions in climate simulations of the late Eocene.