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Life Sciences - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology | Late Cainozoic Floras of Iceland - 15 Million Years of Vegetation and Climate History in the Northern

Late Cainozoic Floras of Iceland

15 Million Years of Vegetation and Climate History in the Northern North Atlantic

Series: Topics in Geobiology, Vol. 35

Denk, Th., Grimsson, F., Zetter, R., Símonarson, L.A.

2011, XVI, 854p. 410 illus., 54 illus. in color.

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  • Emphasizes vegetation and climate history, biogeography and high latitude palaeobotany of the northern North Atlantic
  • Features direct evidence for climate and vegetation development by using terrestrial fossils
  • Includes use of comparative morphology at the macroscopic to microscopic scales (to identify and to establish relationships of fossil plants to modern plant lineages)

Being the only place in the northern North Atlantic yielding late Cainozoic terrestrial sediments rich in plant fossils, Iceland provides a unique archive for vegetation and climate development in this region. This book includes the complete plant fossil record from Iceland spanning the past 15 million years. Eleven sedimentary rock formations containing over 320 plant taxa are described. For each flora, palaeoecology and floristic affinities within the Northern Hemisphere are established. The exceptional fossil record allows a deeper understanding of the role of the “North Atlantic Land Bridge” for intercontinental plant migration and of the Gulf Stream-North Atlantic Current system for regional climatic evolution.

’Iceland sits as a “fossil trap” on one of the most interesting biogeographic exchange routes on the planet - the North Atlantic. The fossil floras of Iceland document both local vegetational response to global climate change, and more importantly, help to document the nature of biotic migration across the North Atlantic in the last 15 million years. In this state-of-the-art volume, the authors place sequential floras in their paleogeographic, paleoclimatic and geologic context, and extract a detailed history of biotic response to the dynamics of physical change.’

Bruce H. Tiffney, University of California, Santa Barbara


’This beautifully-illustrated monograph of the macro- and microfloras from the late Cenozoic of Iceland is a worthy successor to Oswald Heer’s “Flora fossilis arctica”. Its broad scope makes it a must for all scientists interested in climatic change and palaeobiogeography in the North Atlantic region. It will remain a classic for years to come.’

David K. Ferguson, University of Vienna

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Biogeography - Cainozoic - Iceland - Plant fossils - Vegetation Histor

Related subjects » Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Geography - Geology - Global Change - Climate Change

Table of contents 

Chapter  1. Introduction to the Nature and Geology of Iceland

Chapter  2.  A brief Review of Palaebotanical Research in Iceland

Chapter  3. Systematic Paleobotany

Chapter  4. The Archaic Floras (15 Ma)

Chapter  5. The Classic Surtarbrandur Floras (12 Ma)

Chapter  6. The early Late Miocene Floras (10 Ma) – First Evidence of Cool Temperate and Herbaceous Taxa

Chapter  7. The middle Late Miocene Floras (9-8 Ma) – A Window into the Regional Vegetation Surrounding a Large Caldera

Chapter  8. A Lakeland Area in the Late Miocene (7-6 Ma)

Chapter  9. A late Messinian Palynoflora with a distinct Taphonomy

Chapter  10. Pliocene Terrestrial and Marine Biota of the Tjörnes Peninsula – Warm Climates and Biogeographic Re-arrangements

Chapter 11. The Pleistocene Floras (2.4-0.8 Ma) – Shaping the Modern Vegetation of Iceland

Chapter  12. The Biogeographic History of Iceland – The North Atlantic Land Bridge Revisited

Chapter  13. Climate evolution in the northern North Atlantic – 15 Ma to present

Chapter  14. Art Meets Science – The Unpublished Drawings by Carl Hedelin and Thérèse Ekblom

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