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The intensification of the East Asian winter monsoon contributed to the disappearance of Cedrus (Pinaceae) in southwestern China


Su, Tao; et al (2013). The intensification of the East Asian winter monsoon contributed to the disappearance of Cedrus (Pinaceae) in southwestern China. Quaternary Research, 80(2):316-325.

Abstract

Climate change during the Quaternary played an important role in the distribution of extant plants. Herein, cone scales of Cedrus (Pinaceae) were uncovered from the Upper Pliocene Sanying Formation, Longmen Village, Yongping County of Yunnan Province in southwestern China. Detailed comparisons show that these fossils all belong to the genus Cedrus (Pinaceae), and a new species is proposed, Cedrus angusta sp. nov. This find expands the known distribution of Cedrus during the Late Pliocene to Yunnan, where the genus no longer exists in natural forests. Based on the analysis of reconstructed Neogene climate data, we suggest that the intensification of the East Asian winter monsoon during the Quaternary may have dramatically increased seasonality and given rise to a much drier winter in Yunnan. Combined with information on Cedrus fossil records and its seed physiology, we conclude that the intensification of a drier climate after the Late Pliocene may have prevented the survival of Cedrus seedlings, leading to the eventual disappearance of Cedrus in western Yunnan. This study indicates that the topography in southwestern China acted as a vital refuge for many plants during the Quaternary, but that other species gradually disappeared due to the intensification of the monsoonal climate.

Abstract

Climate change during the Quaternary played an important role in the distribution of extant plants. Herein, cone scales of Cedrus (Pinaceae) were uncovered from the Upper Pliocene Sanying Formation, Longmen Village, Yongping County of Yunnan Province in southwestern China. Detailed comparisons show that these fossils all belong to the genus Cedrus (Pinaceae), and a new species is proposed, Cedrus angusta sp. nov. This find expands the known distribution of Cedrus during the Late Pliocene to Yunnan, where the genus no longer exists in natural forests. Based on the analysis of reconstructed Neogene climate data, we suggest that the intensification of the East Asian winter monsoon during the Quaternary may have dramatically increased seasonality and given rise to a much drier winter in Yunnan. Combined with information on Cedrus fossil records and its seed physiology, we conclude that the intensification of a drier climate after the Late Pliocene may have prevented the survival of Cedrus seedlings, leading to the eventual disappearance of Cedrus in western Yunnan. This study indicates that the topography in southwestern China acted as a vital refuge for many plants during the Quaternary, but that other species gradually disappeared due to the intensification of the monsoonal climate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:28 Jan 2014 15:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:24
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0033-5894
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2013.07.001

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