The calm before the storm? Biotic responses to climate and environmental change in the final chapter of the Cretaceous Period

  • Vellekoop, Johan (Administrative Promotor)
  • Claeys, Philippe (Administrative Promotor)

Project Details


While it is convincingly shown that the Chicxulub impact (~66 Ma)
caused the sudden biodiversity decline known as the CretaceousPaleogene boundary mass extinction, various studies have
suggested that gradual, but distinct, environmental changes related
to the terminal Cretaceous phase of the Deccan Traps Large Igneous
Province led to an accumulation of ecological stress in the last 0.5
million years before the impact, priming global ecosystems for

However, the lack of clear, chronostratigraphically wellconstrained, high-resolution biotic and environmental records
preceding the last million years of the Cretaceous makes it difficult to
evaluate whether the amplitude of the perturbations in climate and
biota caused by this phase exceeded background Maastrichtian

Therefore, I propose to generate a series of geographically
widespread, stratigraphically well-constrained, high resolution
records of climatological and biological changes in shelf seas,
throughout the Maastrichtian, using clumped isotopes, dinoflagellate
cysts, calcareous nannoplankton and macrofossils, focusing on the
time interval before the terminal Cretaceous phase of Deccan Traps.
The resulting dataset will allow me to distinguish climatic and biotic
perturbations from the background Maastrichtian variability, and test
whether gradual changes across the Maastrichtian exerted any
progressive environmental stress towards the K-Pg boundary.
Effective start/end date1/10/201/10/21


  • mass extinction
  • biotic stress
  • Maastrichtian climate change

Flemish discipline codes

  • Inorganic geochemistry
  • Stratigraphy
  • Palaeoclimatology


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